If you’re looking for a place to eat in the bustling Yamhill Valley, consider Nick’s Italian Cafe, recently named one of “America’s Classics” by the James Beard Foundation. This honor is only given to establishments with quality food, local character, and lasting appeal. Nick’s is a great addition to any wine country experience, with fresh Pacific Northwest ingredients paired with a superb wine list.
Nick’s was founded in 1977 by Nick Peirano, and features a menu of wine-friendly Italian dishes with an Oregon twist. The restaurant is also located within walking distance of various wineries and shops. Visit them for lunch before exploring downtown McMinnville, or for dinner after going wine tasting in the valley.
The James Beard Foundation aims to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. The excerpt below is taken from their official press release.
Nick’s Italian Café, McMinnville, OR
(Owners: Nick Peirano, Carmen Peirano, and Eric Ferguson)
When Nick Peirano, a third-generation Italian-American, opened a serious Italian restaurant in the farming town of McMinnville in 1977, he had no previous restaurant experience. No matter. His restaurant soon became the place Oregon winemakers hung when there were just a dozen or so. Now there are hundreds, and Nick’s is still their clubhouse.
Nick’s daughter, Carmen Peirano, and her husband, Eric Ferguson, took over day-to-day operations in 2007. They updated the menu to include wood-fired pizzas and house-made charcuterie. But Nick’s Dungeness crab and pine nut lasagna and his pesto-garnished minestrone remain favorites. And you’ll find Nick himself shooting pool most nights in the Backroom Bar.
Nick’s has forged a marriage of Oregon wine country and Northern Italian cooking that’s as worthy of pilgrimage and patronage as the Oregon pinot noirs on their superb wine list.