With the recent announcement spreading around Appalachian State University’s campus of our beloved Parthenon Café officially set to shut down on May 14th, emotions have never run higher. Confirmed text messages from our very own bar owner, Nick, about his bar’s impending closing date had students speaking out about their heartbroken feelings. They even created a Facebook event and designed t-shirts to commemorate the life of the sanctuary.
I had the wonderful chance of sitting down with local bar owner Nick, while he was donning his very typical pajama pants for the interview. Even though he has a wide variety of different pants that are shown off on various game days or Thursday evenings, he decided to go with the black and white camouflage pair this time.
While I was offered many of the different Greek food options that we’ve all come to appreciate that Pnon has to offer, Nick would not stop mentioning how much he would miss Appalachian State University and the students who made his time in Boone, NC some of the best years of his life. When I asked why the sudden change of plans he replied, “I need to quit while I’m ahead…the time has come to move on with my life and to take a sabbatical with my kids.”
I then asked what was next for the piece of land and Nick was a little uncertain. He mentioned that—most likely—another bar and restaurant combo would assume the property with a complete overhaul of interior and exterior design of the trailer. Nick stated that “they’re going to remodel everything, but still make sure that the venue will be for the students.”
When asked to explain some of his favorite memories and times within the establishment, Nick related each and every story to remembering past and present ASU students. “I want to thank all the students since 2002 who have stepped foot in this place. The students made me who I am today, 100%, and I wouldn’t be who I am without them.”
Even as Nick said those last few words in our interview, he did not fail to mention how hearing the news of the uniquely designed t-shirts held a special place in his heart. The idea was so great in his mind that he even mentioned how he shed a tear when he first heard how his bar was being honored.
So, continuing the theme of popular article titles, here’s an “Open Letter” to Pnon owner, Nick.
Since the establishment of your sacred Parthenon Café on March 18th, 2002, you have sponsored a safe haven for the incoming freshmen class at Appalachian State University as if we were your very own. Where does a fresh-out-of-high-school student go to purchase his or her first alcoholic beverage? Pnon. Where does a mountaineer go to be welcomed by your loving “Hey, honey” when they enter the door? Pnon.
Parthenon Café is the place that transformed our freshman years at ASU into the insane cluster of ALE run-ins, bad decision-making, and bonding with soon-to-be best friends, into something to never forget. From your first pitcher purchase, to your first ever experience with feta fries, this trailer park bar has become more than just its shambly looks. Whether you’re outside on the porch for a quick smoke break or appreciating the beats of DJ Hamilton while dancing on the railings, you were always enjoying yourself.
This was the place that you could sit outside on a beautiful fall or spring day and have life changing conversations with none other than Nick himself…even if the beer you were drinking was a bit watered down. This was the place that you could carve your fraternity or sorority’s letters into the bathroom door, and get away with it. Parthenon was always there for us when we failed a test or needed a decent gyro to soak up all the alcohol with. In the end, Pnon sustained us just as much as we sustained it, and it’s such a shame that that relationship is forced to come to an end.
So, for all of you that have said, “Screw it, let’s go to Pnon,” this one is for you.
Cheers to you, Nick, and all of your future endeavors.
The Student Body of Appalachian State University
“Do it for freshman year you and all the poor souls that will never experience drinking with Nick while he wears pajama pants.” – Molly Grubbs, ‘17
“Parthenon isn’t just a crappy trailer bar, it’s a way of life. Going Greek once a week was a necessity of freshman year.” – Hannah Litaker, ‘18
“Rock on, Nick.” – Jason Corday
“It’s the end of an era.” – Julie Blakesmith, ‘16
“Parthenon saved my life.” – Bailey Burgess, ‘17
“People like Nick are a big reason why I chose App. I’m glad I’ve had the chance to get to know him and wish him the best moving forward.” – Will Green, ‘18
Thank you for taking the time to sit down and speak with me, Nick. Your hospitality to the town of Boone and the students of ASU will not be forgotten. Good luck in the future and we hope to see you again soon.