I love my city and my weekends. What I love more is sharing the many reasons why.
I hope to help capture the essence of adventure to be found every day and encourage you to get out and do the same.
Published May 3rd 2016
A Game Changer
On a forever quest to discover quality stand out chicken shops in Sydney, Nieo's Grille formerly Chickens Plus, popped onto my radar immediately when it opened its doors in up and coming Earlwood in Aug 2012.
The recent addition to the already established Chickens Plus franchises running for over 10 years in and around the Northern Beaches, it succeeded a long chain of sites offering quality chicken, an array of fresh salads, sides, burgers and much more than expected from your ordinary chicken shop.
The very first Chickens Plus opened in Mona Vale, inspiring the 'Mona Burger' and 'Jumbo Mona Burger' showcasing on the full menu (plus a series of Mona Burger variants on the take away menu). Chickens Plus then expanded to Newport, Brookvale, Narrabeen, Waterloo, Hornsby, Cammeray and Glebe.
What piqued my interest was how this new to the Inner West scene, seemingly humble chicken shop managed to command such attention on a relatively deserted street at the time. It became the apparent 'place to be' almost overnight; day or night it was always buzzing and the shop full and there were always people spilling out of the establishment, hanging out the front of the shop waiting for their order number to be called out. Once I tried the succulent chicken and sides, sauces, salads and desserts I was hooked. I am still one of the people lining up but now I'm mostly waiting to be seated.
Co-owners Nick Xenofos and Theo Georgoulopoulos, left to right - Courtesy of Nieo's Grille
Fast forward to August 2015 and co-owners Nick Xenofos and Theo Georgoulopoulos decided, with perfect timing to cater to the influx and steady demand for their quality food, adding a much needed dine in restaurant; they merged their names (first two letters in Nick's name and last two letters in Theo's name) and voilą Nieo's Grille was conceived and they haven't looked back.
And just like that, this local success story broke away from the take away only scene and became a modern Australian restaurant combined take away with a unique and exciting Greek influence appealing to most palates.
Fresh and tasty salad selections, sauces: Garlic sauce (makes the experience), Peri Peri sauce (hot) and rice puddings
They also offer catering for all occasions and to order you can call (02) 9787 9055 and you can check out the catering menu on their official website.
This place for me is the perfect blend of home cooking found at your familiar local meets casual yet trendy innovative concept, retaining the welcoming feel of the former. It is fitted with funky decor with an eclectic balance of modern and rustic and they have made great use of the space and layout of the dine in section to accommodate a full house without the sense of over-crowding. Great natural light filters in towards the back of the restaurant through big windows giving it a spacious vibe, especially during the day. The owners and staff are friendly and treat everyone with the utmost importance, which I believe caps off the experience.
Nick let me in on a couple of family secrets during our last conversation, confirming that his dad created their signature lemon sauce and that his mum had just introduced her very own Moussaka recipe, also baking it onsite which I have already had the pleasure to try. The Moussaka is a delicious and very recent addition to the menu, alongside homemade Loukoumades, so warm and comforting and just in time for the colder season upon us.
A valuable addition to help them run the business adopting the hands on approach Nick and Theo strongly promote is Operations Manager Barry Krishnan who has also held positions in various capacities at Hurricanes Grill and Ribs and Rumps. Nick emphasised that their main focus is to ensure that they always have at least two members of the Management Team onsite every day across all aspects of this burgeoning business, their vocation and passion.
Nieo's Grille appeals to me on multiple levels and with the quality and variety only increasing, I'm sure it would appeal to all foodies looking for that local favourite yet under the radar non-commercial dining experience.
I've been fortunate enough to try a fair few items on the menu but as there are a number of delectable choices I will no doubt be going back for more as many times as it takes...someone has to do it. I may also have try out the new cocktail menu (specifically Midori Splice).