As coronavirus restrictions ease, some restaurants are saying hello to dine-in guests for the first time in months. Then there are the new venues – those that held off on their debuts – that are saying hi for the very first time.
That’s the case for Nico’s Sandwich Deli, a takeaway-only sandwich and coffee shop that was slated to open in the CBD in March.
“We didn’t want to [open] as less than what it was, with less staff or a reduced menu. We want to roll it out as it will be.”
The Nico’s concept came from co-owner (and Peasnell’s best mate) Marcus DeSantis. Rounding out the ownership trio is Leo Thompson, former manager at Brother Baba Budan.
The shop is located on Healeys Lane, a couple of blocks south of Flagstaff Gardens. There’s not a lot of wriggle room inside the tiny, seven-square-metre, white-tiled space. But it’s not for dining in.
Instead, you’ll line up in front of the old-school cobalt-blue signage to order the Nico’s Original: a tomato, basil, mozzarella and crisp cos lettuce sourdough sandwich that’s been funked up with a creamy sauce laced with herbs, Japanese shio koji (an umami-rich seasoning), nori (seaweed) and kombu (dried kelp).
There’s also a brisket-and-pork meatball sub, with bone marrow and a hearty, smoked cannellini bean sugo. “[It’s] definitely a Friday afternoon sandwich,” Peasnell says. “This isn’t your Monday to Thursday choice – that’s the Original.”
“We want the shop to have something you can eat every day. We don’t want to weigh our customers down with big, stodgy, heavy sandwiches. It’s a well-balanced, healthy and fast option,” Peasnell says. “We want to have regulars eating at Nico’s multiple times a week rather than coming down for the occasional treat.”
Nico’s Sandwich Deli is opening at Shop K, Healeys Lane, Melbourne on July 1.