Story

Nick's Seafood Restaurant Is The Real Deal

September 13, 2010 by Kurt Lischka

It don't get no fresher or better around these parts. Also known as Nick's in the Sticks by locals.
We sure do miss Nick's in Blue Mountain Beach - good thing we can still take a little drive for the real thing.

An honest to goodness, family-friendly, fresh seafood dive on the bay west of Freeport in Basin Bayou.

In 1956, Frank and Hattie Nick bought the property from Thomas Godwin for $8,500. At this location there was an old fish camp that dated back to early 1900s. “Old Nick” and “Miss Hattie” ran the fish camp, selling bait, beer and renting boats for a dollar a day.

In 1963, the present building was erected and Nick’s Seafood Restaurant was open, selling raw oysters, fried shrimp, hamburgers and cold beer. Oysters sold for 55 cents a dozen, fried shrimp dinners for $1.55, hamburgers for 30 cents and beer for a quarter. There were not many people out this way, matter of fact, there weren’t many people anywhere around here.

Back then, all the seafood came straight out of the bay caught by local fishermen. We had our own oyster beds leased from the State of Florida for $14.50 a year. Shrimp sold for 25 cents a pound, mullet for 10 cents a pound and crabs for a nickel each (large males only). It was then that Governor Leroy Collins started a once-cent sales tax.

In 1968, three people began working at Nick’s: Ernie Perdue, Corrine Perdue and Betty Schipper. Two years later, Janie Phillips came on board.

Nick’s continued to grow their clientele. Through the years, kids came with their parents; then later came to Nick’s with their kids.

In 1979 Old Nick and Miss Hattie had their son, Frank Jr. and his wife Bonnie and two mop head ruffins, Trey and Carey together took over. Frank Jr. and Bonnie ran the restaurant until 1989 when they turned it over to their Old Nick and Miss Hattie’s daughter Connie. Connie and her husband Wayne Jones along with their daughter Rachael ran the old block building until 1998.

In 1998, Frank III made it three generations of running Nick’s when he and his wife Jennifer took over the reigns.

With Ernie, Corrine, Betty, and Janie still on board, baby brother Carey tending the bar, everyone is making sure Frank III (Trey), Jennifer, Aubree and Cade will keep the tradition of family atmosphere and good food going into the fourth generation.

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Kurt Lischka

As a happy ambassador of South Walton, Kurt loves to share SoWal with the world through stories, photos, videos, texting, social media, and even telephone.

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