Blue crab specialty of the house at Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Basin Bayou

April 17, 2010

Nick's restaurant has been serving fresh seafood since 1963. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Serving fresh seafood a family tradition for three generations

When Frank Nick, Sr. came to Basin Bayou in 1955 he was looking for a special family retreat – a place to relax, fish and enjoy living on the Choctawhatchee Bay.

Recently retired from the Army Air Corps in Selma, Ala. Frank, Sr. took over an old fish camp dating back to the early 1900s. Along with his wife Hattie, the Nick’s sold bait, beer and rented boats for $1.00 a day.

In 1963 the family erected a new building, and decided to open a restaurant selling fresh, locally caught seafood. Nick’s Seafood Restaurant was born.

The family and business thrived, and in 1979, Frank Sr., handed over the reigns to Frank Jr., and his wife Bonnie. Then, in 1998, Frank, III (Trey) took the helm.

Frank (Trey) Nick, III crabbing on the Choctawhatchee Bay. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

As children, Trey and his brother Carey lived for getting out on the water fishing and crabbing. And in 2001, Trey took crabbing to new heights when he bought out local crabber, Claude Baudin’s business.

“I thought I knew how to crab, but Claude taught me how to do it the right way,” Trey said as he explained how Baudin spent months educating him after selling him the business.

The education took hold, and the crabbing business grew, as it now boasts three boats, which, in peak season brings in between 400-800 lbs. of blue crab a day. One out of every five diners at Nick’s consumes the locally harvested blue crab at the restaurant. The crabbing does so well, the fleet also sells to other restaurants.

Steamed blue crab isn’t the only thing on the menu at Nick’s, as they serve a variety of other local seafood. Oysters, shrimp, grouper, scallops and a seasonal fish are available on the menu. In addition, the restaurant serves burgers, chicken and steak, along with a kid’s menu.

There are other events and activities on tap at Nick’s. The restaurant sponsors three fishing tournaments each year – a speckled trout tournament in May, a redfish tournament in June and a four-species fishing tournament in September.

Nick’s also offers a charter service for gulf or bay fishing along with eco tours along the area’s waterways.

Nick’s hours:
Tues. – Sun. 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
For more information, call 850-835-2222
7585 Hwy. 20 West
Freeport, Fla.