Why beloved Virginia restaurant Nick's Roman Terrace is closing its doors in Henrico

Posted at 1:23 PM, Mar 15, 2024

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Nick's Roman Terrace in the Westland Shopping Center along West Broad Street in Henrico has fed hungry diners for decades. In addition to great-tasting Greek and Italian dishes, loyal customers have returned to Nick's for the lively family atmosphere that includes celebrating Christmas with an in-store Santa.

The party, however, is coming to a close at the location Nick's fans have come to know and love. Restaurant owner Tony Anifantis has decided to close the restaurant which opened in 1975.

It was a decision that impacted both Tony and the people he loves the most — his customers.

"They're my friends. They're my relatives. They're all my family," Anifantis told Julie Bragg, also a longtime customer, days before the March 17 official closing date.

 Nick's Roman Terrace
Restaurant owner Tony Anifantis

But with rising costs, including rent, Anifantis said he knew he had made the right decision.

"It's been a beautiful 22 years," Anifantis, who took over Nick's in 2002, said.

For others, including longtime customers Johanna Gilbert and her daughter Kristina, the news wasn't easy to swallow.

"I was upset," Gilbert said. "I called him crying and said do I need reservations to come today?"

 Nick's Roman Terrace

A dining tradition that Kristina passed along to her son Matthew.

"It's like coming back to family," she said. "Tony has been one of Matthew's male role models."

Known for welcoming Santa each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Jolly Old Elf made an off-season return to the restaurant to help bring some cheer to a time filled with mixed emotions for restaurant staff and guests.

"I know the people were sad that she's closing here, so I came out to cheer everybody up," Santa said.

 Nick's Roman Terrace

Manager Kathy Agnor, who is in charge of special events and decorations, said for many families, Nick's is much more than just a neighborhood restaurant.

"People had their first dates here. They used to go to the bowling alley across the street, they'd have their first date, then they would get engaged here," she said. "Then many people were married here, right here in this restaurant."

Anifantis said Saturday that because of the response to this story, the restaurant's landlord, the Wilton Company, has given the business a "couple of extra weeks to continue operating."

"We've seen many, many folks coming by that we haven't seen in ages, and even a former employee who used to work for the original "Nick" back in the eighties!"

As a result, Nick's Roman Terrace will stay open through Sunday, March 31.

And while we don't yet know what will become of the space where Nick's served up pizzas, pastas, and baklava, we do know this — Nick's might make a comeback.

In fact, Anifantis said he would reopen a restaurant if he was able to find the right location. If you know of a suitable location, with a banquet hall, email Julie so she can share with Tony.

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