Owensboro’s local food scene is teaming with creativity. Menus ebb and flow with the changing tastes of the area and the bounty of the growing farm culture. Sometimes change means favorite dishes are removed to make room for new and exciting plates, but it does not mean they are never to be tasted again. They lurk in the kitchen waiting for those in the know to request these cult-like dishes.
Niko’s Italian Cuisine was founded in May of 2003 by the late Niko Nousiadis and his wife Lola. Ten years ago Niko added vodka cream pasta to the dinner specials menu and a legend was born. The recipe was tweaked over the following months and different proteins were added such as shrimp, chicken and crab, but it is the original that has stood the test of time. Dennis Weafer has been making this dish for 10 years and says “like most of our specials we run it for a while then move on to new things and in most cases don’t make them again.”
This dish of sautéed bacon, onions and garlic, added to tomato paste, then deglazed with vodka, orange juice and chicken stock is finished with cream before being tossed with al dente pasta. Despite its absence on the menu, vodka cream pasta has stood the test of time and is still ordered three or four times a week.
Niko’s is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Saturday 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Stop by 2200 E. Parrish Ave. for your own plate of pasta perfection.