Little Tony’s brings diner food to Stadium Village

The owner of the new restaurant has family ties to a number of other campus-area eateries.

Little Tony's

Ian Larson

Little Tony’s

Katherine Lymn

When Bill Nicklow, 72, tried retiring from the restaurant business a couple years back, it just didnâÄôt work for him. âÄúI got a little bit bored,âÄù said the aged but lively Nicklow, who opened Little TonyâÄôs restaurant at the beginning of February. âÄúIâÄôm glad to be back again,âÄù he said. The small restaurant has a diner-like feel and is located next to Oak Street Cinema at Washington Avenue and Oak Street Southeast. Nicklow said the food is appropriate for the college culture because itâÄôs fast and cheap. âÄúAround here, everybodyâÄôs in a hurry,âÄù he said. The menu is intentionally simple, featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wraps and homemade cookies. âÄúYou canâÄôt be everything,âÄù he said. âÄúYou have to do what you do best,âÄù Nicklow said. Gyros and pitas also make appearances on the menu, paying homage to NicklowâÄôs home country, Greece. He was born in Thisvi in 1938 and came to Minneapolis with two brothers and his mother in 1954 after World War II both ravaged their town and took the life of NicklowâÄôs father. âÄúPoverty and hardship brought me to Minneapolis,âÄù Nicklow said. Since that time, however, the family has done well in the United States, where the restaurant business is a family affair. NicklowâÄôs son, Tony, owns TonyâÄôs Diner in Dinkytown, and his two brothers and their sons own Downtime Bar and Grill in the Dinkydome. Tony Nicklow has lent some employees of TonyâÄôs Diner to his fatherâÄôs establishment for the time being, and he said he will assist in other ways if necessary. Currently, two employees run the store with Nicklow, according to Antonio Yshagnei, one of the employees. âÄúWeâÄôre the same family, pretty much the same business,âÄù Tony Nicklow said. âÄúEach of us is there for each other.âÄù Tony Nicklow said he is pleased his father is back in the business. âÄúItâÄôs good for him; it keeps him busy,âÄù he said. The elder Nicklow said that while one benefit is staying busy, he is also glad to be a part of the campus atmosphere âÄî especially with the new stadium, which he said gave him âÄúgoose pimplesâÄù at the first game. Business was slow for Little TonyâÄôs first week. âÄúI was pulling my hair,âÄù Nicklow said. But more customers have stopped by gradually over time, Yshagnei said. âÄúI can see the light in the tunnel,âÄù Nicklow said. He said the restaurant will likely hold a grand opening ceremony in March.