Kevin Timmons and Doug Watkins were friends for eight years before they decided to go into business together and open a bar and restaurant in Overland Park.
Timmons, who had experience running upscale restaurants, and Watkins, who previously owned a sports bar in Atlanta, decided to name their restaurant after their sons. Nick and Jake’s opened 13 years ago at 6830 W. 135th St. and has since expanded with locations in Parkville and the Country Club Plaza.
The setting of the original Nick and Jake’s has changed drastically over 13 years — it was originally across from “a pond, woods and a farm,” Timmons says — but the upscale sports bar concept and the handsome decor has stayed the same.
I went to Nick and Jake’s on a 100-degree afternoon and grabbed a seat at the horseshoe-shaped bar, located in the heart of the restaurant. The delightfully cool and dimly lit room has tall ceilings, classic black and white sports photos on the walls and at least a dozen flatscreen televisions.
Nick and Jake’s always plays Royals, Chiefs and KU games.
“We’re a big Jayhawk bar,” Timmons says, “and the Parkville restaurant is a huge Missouri bar.”
The bar at Nick and Jake’s in Overland Park serves bottles of beer on ice — it’s colder that way, Timmons says — as well as California wine by the glass and several specialty cocktails.
I sipped the Peach Palmer ($6.50), a peach rum-spiked version of the classic Arnold Palmer tea-and-lemonade combo, but I also took the bartender’s advice and sampled the bar’s signature Mango Martini ($7), a fruity tropical slush that’s perfect for late summer.
Nick and Jake’s appetizer menu boasts tempting starters such as jumbo Buffalo wings ($9) and tomato bruschetta ($9). The entrees are all about comfort food: Think meatloaf, baby back ribs and chicken pot pie.
Timmons describes his restaurant’s culinary style as “chef-driven,” and “Midwestern,” with an emphasis on meat and potatoes.
“We want the best burger, fresh salads and everything made from scratch,” he says.
The restaurant’s executive chef, Joe Noblitt, previously worked for M&S Grill and McCormick & Schmick’s on the Plaza.
I love Cuban sandwiches, so I had to try Nick and Jake’s version ($10), served with homemade potato chips.
The pork loin on the sandwich is covered in a spicy rub before it’s roasted. The tender slices are piled on a crusty Farm to Market hoagie with smoked ham, mustard, mayo, pickles and two kinds of cheeses: Swiss and mozzarella, which adds creaminess.
If you like pork but crave a burger, order the OMG burger ($11), a half-pound patty topped with pulled pork, bacon, chipotle mayo, pepperoncini, Jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. The monster burger stands nearly eight inches tall — you might need to cut it with a knife before going in for a bite.
Another menu standout is the intensely juicy and flavorful Grandma’s chicken ($16 at dinner or $12 at lunch), bone-in chicken breast brined for 24 hours before it’s grilled and served with jalapeno-cheddar grits.
Nick and Jake’s also serves certified Angus beef steaks, brown sugar and bourbon-glazed salmon and several fresh salads. My favorite, the Firecracker Chicken Salad ($11.50), tops mixed lettuces with diced Buffalo chicken tenders, blue cheese crumbles, bacon, celery and tomato.
The salad is great with a pint of locally brewed Hefeweizen, or unfiltered wheat ale, from Kansas City Bier Co. Nick and Jake’s was among the first Kansas bars to sell the Missouri beer.
Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes about Johnson County restaurants every first and third week of the month. Contact her via email at email@example.com or tweet @sarah_gish.
Nick and Jake’s
Location: 6830 W. 135th St. in Overland Park
Hours: The dining room is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. The bar stays open until midnight Monday-Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Brunch: Nick and Jake’s offers a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. The buffet, which features made-to-order omelets and waffles and a prime rib carving station, costs $19 for adults or $10 for kids ages 6-12. Kids younger than 5 eat free.
Credit cards: Yes
Parking: Free lot
Don’t miss: The Cuban sandwich ($10), the Firecracker Chicken Salad ($11.50), the certified Angus steaks and the OMG burger ($11), topped with pulled pork and bacon.
Vegetarian: Try the goat cheese-topped tomato bruschetta ($9), roasted red pepper hummus ($8) and Nick’s salad ($5 for a side or $8 for an entree), spring mix with pine nuts, red onion, marinated tomato, blue cheese crumbles and kalamata olives in a Tuscan vinaigrette.