Most Marist students will know the first exit on Route 9 South as the exit for Mahoney’s, River Station or the train station. What they won’t know is the restaurant half a mile before all of the above listed locations.
Opened on August 13, 2013 the Nic L Inn has been bringing a wonderful variety of food and wine over the past three years. Owners Nick and Lynette Deluccia, who used to have the exact same name in LaGrange, moved to Poughkeepsie because they saw a great opportunity with the location of the building. It is believed that the name of the restaurant is for their daughter Nicolette. They enjoyed being right on the Hudson River and they also came up with the idea of making the restaurant a wine cellar style. It is closed on Monday’s and is a lunch and dinner place for Tuesday through Sunday.
Lynette designed everything for the restaurant. She was really looking for that industrial look and did not want a big dining room. The restaurant would look like a lot of empty tables, which is why they never chose to expand even though the option is there. She wanted to originally get the top floor of the building, which used to be nothing but law offices; however, when she knew she was only going to get the bottom floor of the complex she was going to make the most of it.
Billy Hurley, the maître d of the restaurant started in May of 2015. Most customers who return to the Nic L Inn more than once will refer to him as “get it done Bill.” They see him doing everything from bartending, to waiting tables and he even answers the phone. He is a long time friend of the owners and absolutely loved the idea of working there. Before that he was working at the Ship Lantern Inn for five years, which is much further down Route 9 South with a similar service style just bigger and not wine cellar themed.
“I told the owners when I first got here that this is their baby and pretty soon it will start to crawl. Once it crawls it will stand up and then walk before you know it.” Hurley said. “The wine cellar theme is a niche of this community. It is a concept that can really draw people in.”
He also mentions that no matter where you work that you have to treat the place you work at with the upmost respect because that is what you will receive in return.
There is also a combination between being family orientated and a date night kind of restaurant. Both Deluccia and Hurley agree that it leans more towards a date restaurant because, while they do not deny small children, (under 13) it does not accommodate them well. The Nic L Inn does not have a kid’s menu, but they still do half portions of entrees and they have pasta.
“It is family-oriented but most young kids like to eat and leave and therefore this may not be the best place for them because we are a leisure paced restaurant,” Hurley said.
He loves the idea of working in an Italian restaurant that has a Mediterranean menu. They of course love to advertise their pasta. I mean who would not want to do that considering they cook it fresh everyday and have their own gluten free pasta as well. It fits well with the wine theme because they have over 250 bottles of wine on display in the restaurant as well as a wine-dispensing machine.
“Nobody else has one in the area and I have seen it around the country before and they are a good display for the restaurant,” Lynette said.
It is a good investment because it is an eye catcher, as Hurley would put it. The way the restaurant uses the two machines they purchased is they put in four premium red wine bottles and four premium white wine bottles in the other. They choose to put premium bottles in there because by having it in the dispenser they can have the customers only pay by the glass instead of having to pay for the full bottle. Like many of those fancy restaurants in New York City that force you to buy by the bottle instead of just a glass, the dispenser allows customers to drink the finest wine at a per glass price.
In terms of Marist population they only see it around once a week, whether it be students with family or if it is professors. But once a week there will be somebody associated to the college, mainly the adults because of the two local watering holes (Mahoney’s and River Station) are just half a mile ahead.
“In my two years at Marist I never actually heard of this restaurant or seen it before, I have honestly only ever gone that way to get to the train station,” junior Maggie McGowan said.
“People get lost trying to find us sometimes, Mahoney’s is down the road from us off of Main Street,” Hurley jokingly said regarding why they do not see a bigger student turn out.
Located at 135 North Water Street it can be difficult to see if you are not exactly looking for a place to eat right away. But it is certainly a can’t miss when you are looking for a good restaurant. It has been voted best food in Poughkeepsie in the past.
It is incredible that a building complex that has been around for decades and used to just hold law offices was able to be turned into one of the best restaurants in Poughkeepsie. Having gone there with my family on parent’s weekend I highly recommend it.