Springfield IL soul food restaurant Nickey’s Southern Style closed

Signs for Nickey’s Southern Style Kitchen at 330 South Grand Ave. E. and the restaurant have firm for business.

Necole “Nickey” Alexander confirmed on Tuesday that she had severed ties with her business partner Audrey Austin.

The South Grand building is transforming and heading into new life as Audrey’s Café & Gaming.

This is the former location of Nickey's Southern Style Kitchen.

Alexander, meanwhile, insisted she would return to catering “soon”.

“I am excited about my new trip,” Alexander said. “I am grateful that a door slams in your face and that several doors have opened since then. I am in a good position. I am not closing permanently. I am definitely closing this place.

“I’m grateful that this has happened. What lies ahead replaces what I had there.”

An argument between the two led Austin to file a protection order against Alexander last week. Alexander was escorted out of the building on Thursday, but a judge ruled Alexander could continue working in the restaurant.

Renovations to the building had started on Friday, the renovations Austin said it was approved by the building’s owner, Tayseer Rehan, but Alexander said she was unaware of its return to the restaurant on Friday.

Austin had left open the idea that Alexander might come back.

“They’re building countertops to get in here and there’s new kitchen equipment coming in here,” Austin said, inside the restaurant on Monday. “We get high tables with bar stools. “

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Austin said she encouraged Alexander to return to Springfield from Madison, Wisconsin several years ago to open a restaurant and later became an investor there.

This came to fruition as Nickey’s Place at White Oaks Mall in 2016. The restaurant moved to South Grand, the former site of Twisted Deli, in late 2017.

Nickey’s was known for its home-cooked Southern dishes, like smothered pork chops, barbecued ribs, and jambalaya.

Austin, who owns All Star Kutz in Springfield, said he paid half of the restaurant’s monthly rent. Austin is the sole tenant of the building and the game is also owned by his company.

Nickey Alexander with his son, actor Rome Flynn

Austin admitted that she was not interested in catering initially, “but since I was working with (Alexander) I was excited about the opportunity. She was the cook and I was the administrative part.”

Austin said Audrey’s Cafe and Gaming would be home to the “Philly Pickle Fried Sandwich”.

Alexander said she was moved by the influx of messages and texts on Facebook.

“I am grateful to know,” she said, “that I am truly a fixture in this community and people are eager to help me restore (my business).”

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, [email protected], twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.

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