Florida Foodie: Soul food restaurant cooking for the people

Father, daughter duo share their family history of serving the community

Nikki's Place was featured on this episode of Florida Foodie.

Orlando – Chef Nick Aikens has spent much of his life in the kitchen with his family. He got his start working for his aunt in 1952. Since then, he’s served meals to Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presely, but, above all, Aikens says he is “cooking for the people.”

He now runs his own restaurant with his wife and his daughter. Over the last 20 years, Nikki’s Place has become a staple of Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood. Aikens started the restaurant in 1999, naming it after his daughter Shannea “Nikki” Akins, who will eventually take over the business.

The restaurant’s standing in the community is a fact that is not lost by Aikens. He and his daughter know the business would not be around without their customers, especially through the hard times brought on by the pandemic. They say people regularly stop by for a meal, saying they are coming in just to make sure their business can stay open.

Nick and Shannea join us to talk about what makes their soul food different from what people might expect and how they are giving back to the customers who help keep them going.

Be sure to follow our host, Candace Campos, on Twitter and Facebook.

Food is part of our traditions and cultures, and it impacts our health, our economy and all of our communities.

So, WKMG’s podcast Florida Foodie is giving you some food for thought, taking a closer look at how what we eat and how we eat it impacts us here in Florida and what it means for everyone, everywhere.

New episodes can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.