Nick's House of Pizza - 1082 Sunset Blvd, W. Columbia

Posted by The LunchMen Monday, May 17, 2010

Even if I wanted to, I could not cast West Columbia in a sexy light. It is blue-collar to the core, and that is why we like it. Discount stores, struggling strip malls, and a chicken factory all serve as a sharp contrast to Columbia's shiny pride and joy, the Vista, just across the river. The Lunchmen do not really care about glitz and glamor when they are scouting for that much-needed retreat between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. They care about one thing -- deliciousness. The stretch of Sunset Boulevard extending from the Gervais Street bridge to Lexington Medical Center runs deep with deliciousness, and it features some of the most notable, down-to-earth lunch destinations in the Columbia area.

Nick's House of Pizza is not fancy. Its deserts are featured in a revolving cabinet. Its waitresses lack the polish of their younger, bubblier counterparts across the river. Instead of roping you in with a cohesive, paired down menu featuring trendy, portion-controlled fare, Nick's menu offers almost anything you can think of for lunch, and it offers them in LARGE portions. Therefore, it was no surprise to this writer that Pizza the Hut wanted the Lunchmen to head their for a Friday lunch. I am glad we did.

Nick's cooks some food that is just okay, and it does others quite well. The Lawnmower Man was not blown away by his hot ham sandwich; he found it merely "okay." The Lawnmower Man lives in Lexington County and is an aficionado of all blue-collar menu items. If he doesn't like your ham sandwich, then you've still got work to do on it, Nick's. Similarly, Rabbit got a Caesar salad with chicken, which he found to be only average. No one knows lettuce like Rabbit.

Nick's is not bashful about offering some menu items in the double-digit range, and The Dude did not shy away from the opportunity to order one of them. Then again, when you are balling at the Dude's level, dropping $10.40 for a Grecian Pasta with Chicken is nothing - the Dude abides, man. The Dude thought that the Grecian Pasta was pretty good. This picture of it I took is deplorable, I know, but I'm going to share it with you anyway.

So, what does Nick's do well, you ask? For one thing, pizza and pizza-related goodness. You don't go to a deli and order the lasagna, do you? Would you eat a hamburger at a health food market? Of course not, and I refuse to eat anything besides pizza, stromboli, or calzone at a place that calls itself a House of Pizza. I ordered the small Gyro Stromboli, which is still more food than any one man should eat at lunch unless he is actively working towards a by-pass surgery. Fortunately, I have no known family history of heart disease. My order was loaded with gyro meat, onions, bell peppers, cheese, and meat sauce. I found it delectable, and as far as strombolis/calzones go, I believe it plays second fiddle in Columbia only to Dano's.

Pizza the Hut shocked us all when he did not order pizza. After all, he is famous for allegedly making Pizza Hut seriously reconsider offering a buffet on Sumter Street. Not to be typecasted, he threw aside his role and ordered the hot turkey sub, complete with lettuce, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, mayonnaise, provolone cheese, and a special dressing. He devoured that sub with a side of french fries, and he gave the sandwich an enthusiastic thumbs up.

You know who else likes Nick's? Mrs. Tank and Grandma - they go every few weeks and tackle salads and hot subs. That should be all of the inspiration you need to head across the bridge, ladies. Grandma knows good eats.

I am afraid to say that Nick's House of Pizza didn't make it on our pizza poll. After eating the Gyro Stromboli, I realize that was mistake. My bad, Nick's House of Pizza, my bad. I'll be back to order more stromboli to make up for it.

- Tank

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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.