Nick’s Italian Café
521 NE 3rd Street, McMinnville, OR
Owners: Nick Peirano, Carmen Peirano, and Eric Ferguson
When Nick Peirano, a third-generation Italian-American, opened a serious Italian restaurant in the farming town of McMinnville in 1977, he had no previous restaurant experience. No matter. His restaurant soon became the place Oregon winemakers hung when there were just a dozen or so. Now there are hundreds, and Nick’s is still their clubhouse.
Nick’s daughter, Carmen Peirano, and her husband, Eric Ferguson, took over day-to-day operations in 2007. They updated the menu to include wood-fired pizzas and housemade charcuterie. But Nick’s Dungeness crab and pine nut lasagna and his pesto-garnished minestrone remain favorites. And you’ll find Nick himself shooting pool most nights in the Backroom Bar.
Nick’s has forged a marriage of Oregon wine country and Northern Italian cooking that’s as worthy of pilgrimage and patronage as the Oregon pinot noirs on their superb wine list.
The America's Classic award is given to restaurants with timeless appeal, each beloved in its region for quality food that reflects the character of its community. Establishments must have been in existence for at least ten years and be locally owned.