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About Anthony | Burgers Blog

Niki'z Pub: out of the way, right on target



Published: Wed, August 24, 2016 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Anthony M. Fuda

BurgerGuyz@hotmail.com

Sometimes you have to go beyond Main Street to find a diamond in the rough.

If you’re willing to drive through some residential areas to Mason Street in Niles, you will find Niki’z Pub, which offers a hidden gem of a burger.

The menu offers an assortment of choices, from appetizers (we recommend the stuffed hot peppers), to sandwiches (Niki’z boasts the home of Trumbull County’s best sausage sandwich) and wings, to full meals.

Our guest this month, longtime friend and colleague Vic Rivera, is one of those people who doesn’t need the spotlight to show what kind of person he is. He was recently promoted to Chief Master Sgt. at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna. Rivera has been in the service since 1989 and has been deployed overseas in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

We used some of his evaluation techniques with a Niki’z burger. The burger is a half-pound of fresh ground sirloin, served on a toasted Italian roll with pasta salad or cole slaw. You can get lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle chips on request. Niki’z offers the popular build-your-own burger.

The toppings (prices vary)are: BBQ sauce, blackened; jalape ±os, hot peppers, grilled peppers, grilled onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, onion rings, Italian greens, bacon, fried egg, grilled ham and bleu cheese crumbles. Cheeses are American, Swiss, cheddar, pepper jack and provolone.

The burgers arrived and we were impressed by their size and freshness, from the juicy beef, to the crisp toppings and the soft, yet hearty, Italian roll.

I ordered my burger medium with provolone cheese, bacon, Niki’z hot peppers, and lettuce, tomato and pickles. The beef was very tender and cooked perfectly. Each bite hit me with flavor after flavor, highlighted by the peppers. They added a nice zing. This meal will be part of my “go to” meals. I just wish I knew about Niki’z sooner.

Rivera ordered a burger with mushrooms and Swiss with a side of pasta salad. “The burger itself was fresh and had a good taste,” he said. “The toppings were just the right amount so the mushrooms weren’t falling off. The pasta salad had a good flavor. Overall, I have no complaints and would definitely come back again and try a burger with different toppings.”

Chiz said of his experience, “Niki’z Bar is a fantastic neighborhood establishment that makes me wish I was within walking distance. I did the build-your-own burger, which was neat with what seemed to be endless options for toppings combinations. I chose to turn up the heat as Eric and I often do! I went with a medium burger, the regular toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion), bacon, pepper jack cheese, jalepeno’s and Niki’z own hot pepper blend. Great seasoning, and as juicy as could be! One of the things I liked a lot was their Italian style sub roll as the burger bun. Great Italian bread flavor really wrapped all my delicious flavors together and allowed me to enjoy every last bite as it held up great.

“My favorite topping was the hot peppers. They shredded them up and mixed in a little olives, garlic and oil.”

Eric made his choice and noted, “I crafted my meal tonight by trying to stay as true to my roots as possible. After including the staple of lettuce, onion and pickle, I went on to add my unique touch of heat. To accomplish this I added jalape ±os, pepper jack cheese, and some of Niki’s Hot Peppers. To knock it up even higher I requested some form of hot sauce, some of the hottest sauce I’ve had to date. The icing on the cake came when we were presented with fresh cut habanero pepper slices to add, which Chiz and I jumped on. The beef itself had a great flavor and I’m confident can stand on its own without any toppings. I’d never had a burger on an Italian roll and was quite pleased with how well it complemented the experience. My side was some fantastic pasta salad that worked well in countering the jolt in temperature my taste buds were experiencing.”

With Vic’s help, we determined this burger was worth a return visit. If you are in Niles and looking for a great burger off the beaten path, look for the Niki’z sign and soon that road will not be less traveled. Niki’z also is known for their first weekend of the month pit-roasted lamb, pork, chicken and ham.

Keep reading the Valley food section each Wednesday for the best food the Valley has to offer.

If you know of a burger that should be on our hit list, send the info to BurgerGuyz@hotmail.com, or on our Facebook page BurgerGuyz

If you go

Niki'z Pub, 509 Mason St., Niles, OH 44446

Phone: 330-544-6100

Hours: Open seven days a week at 11 a.m., closes by midnight

Menu: Build Your Own Burger ($6.75)

Website: Find Niki’z Pub on Facebook

Rating: Four out of five


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