By Christy (Chick) Hughes
You can take the girl out of the Wild West, but you can’t take the Wild West spirit out of the girl. Nobody knows this better than beach local Nikki Nickerson. When she put down her 30A roots back in 2001, this Texas native brought with her a strong-willed take-no-bull spirit and a lifelong love affair with the west. Once Nikki decided to combine that western flare with her other love, food, she was ready to take the restaurant business by storm. But what would she name this restaurant that symbolized her strong will, hard work, determination, sheer grit, and culinary obsession?
Nikki says she always considered herself to have that Wild West spirit and she knew that her new foodie venture would have to speak to her love for spirited and independent women, as well.
So when she conjured up an image of a cowgirl in the kitchen running her own show, she knew that image mirrored her unwavering woman’s will.
And her Texan heart looked no further… Cowgirl Kitchen was born.
Making its debut in Seagrove beach in 2005, Nickerson opened the doors to this local favorite serving up a hearty breakfast and lunch to beachgoers. Two years later, in 2007, Nickerson’s entrepreneurial drive led her to open her flagship restaurant – Cowgirl Kitchen in Rosemary Beach – offering a belly full of breakfast, lunch, and – now – dinner. The kicked back cuisine and welcoming casual atmosphere will have you kicking up your cowboy boots (or flip flops) and settling in for some foodie favorite dips and spreads like Texas caviar, cowgirl salsa, jalapeno hummus, smoked tuna dip, sister’s campfire dip, and their famous hot crab dip. Morning belly growls need grub, and Cowgirl Kitchen has it covered with its Heartache biscuit (warm pimento cheese and praline bacon biscuit), specialty breakfast burritos, and southern praline bacon with waffles.
Everyone loves pizza…cowpokes included. CK’s 30A special pizza is representing its namesake and satisfying that post-beach hunger.
Beach, pizza, beach, repeat. When asked for the inside intel on some of the absolute must-have menu dishes, Nikki said, “We have a serious fan base for our specialty salads and signature house dressing. The Drunken Cowgirl pizza is a must-try in Rosemary Beach, featuring green olives, garlic, bacon and a vodka cream red sauce. Another favorite is our 24-hour smoked brisket.”
As any taco lover knows, a taco a day keeps the workday away. Cowgirl Kitchen is your go-to taco extraordinaire with Florida grouper, grilled shrimp, brisket, pulled pork, bbq chicken, and vegetarian-friendly options. Word has it locals love to pull up a seat, take in the trendy 30A vibe, and have a generous plate of chicken nachos coupled with a Bloody Mary.
Of course, we asked the burning question: “Nikki, what are your personal CK favorites?” It seems she goes right for the veggie tacos, chopped salad, drunken shrimp tacos, and meatloaf sandwich. When she’s at the Rosemary Beach flagship restaurant, she loves to splurge on the No Bull pizza. And that’s no bull.
Nickerson’s determination and dedication have resulted in local success and national recognition.
She was one of 20 women to be awarded the honor of a James Beard Fellowship in 2019.
And she is one of the few women in the United States holding the title of sole proprietor with multiple locations under her leadership and no outside investors. That Texas-born tenacity has turned Nickerson’s dream into a 30A staple. Now that’s cow-girl power.