The old and famous restaurant, Nick’s Spaghetti House of East Vancouver, officially closed on Thursday, December 21, 2017, after the building was sold. The owners, Nick and Pauline Fellicella, had been serving classic Italian recipes at the same location on Commercial Drive since 1955. For 62 years, Nick’s Spaghetti House had been a considerable part of East Vancouver.
Nick’s Spaghetti House had been a iconic attraction in East Vancouver and will be greatly missed. People came from all over to eat at Nick’s usually before a football or hockey game. People even went to eat before horse races. Many of the Vancouver Canucks, when they played at the Pacific Coliseum, used to eat at Nick’s Spaghetti House after their games and practices.
The decor had not changed much over the years. The restaurant was an old-school classic Italian joint with red and white checkered tablecloths. There were old paintings still hanging on the walls beside the “No Smoking” signs that were necessary before smoking was outlawed in all public places. The joint smelled like spaghetti and meatballs and of course, garlic.
In the month leading up to the restaurant’s closure, it was extremely busy with lineups out the door going down the nearby street. Rain or shine, people lined up as early as 4:00 pm. The wait was often over two hours long just to get a table. Some visitors went for lunch to avoid the night crowds. It would get packed to the point where you might find yourself sharing tables and eating with people you may not know. Everyone wanted to get that one last meal at Nick’s Spaghetti House. The restaurant hired extra waitresses to come in and help. They were in and out of the kitchen and making great tips. The waitresses were pleasant, kind, and oddly calm in the chaos. They would squeeze through the waiting crowd of people to collect their food orders from the kitchen. The restaurant was loud and crowded, the cook often had to help do the dishes.
Guests were calm and appreciative as they waited. It was clear to see the staff was working as hard and as fast as they could. But as pleasant as the staff were, there was a sadness in the waiters and customers to see the restaurant close. Staff were often seen hugging their regular customers from over the years. Customers were expressing their thankfulness for all the years of service and great food with many mixed emotions, some even crying about the dreadful news.
The food was Southern Italian with classic items such as spaghetti and meatballs, steak, veal cutlets and ribs served with a great variety of many salads. One salad in particular was very popular–a classic green salad with Nick’s own homemade dressing. The portions were huge and many guests were leaving with takeout trays filled with leftovers.
Many people in the Lower Mainland are devastated to see Nick’s Spaghetti House close after 62 years. It has been a popular hang out considering it is one of the oldest restaurants in Vancouver. The owner Nick, is 87 years old and says he wants to take life one day at a time and relax. The recipes of the restaurant are top secret and will never be shared.