New food business, Nixon's Bodega, is bringing US-style meatball and cheese-laden bodega sandwiches to the capital

Sean Nixon is looking for a permanent home for his giant sandwiches

As far as US-style food goes, burgers, milkshakes and hot dogs must be the most famous imports.

Then, among the lesser-known comfort food staples, there are tater tots, Twinkies, pot roast, cornbread, pumpkin pie and jerky.

We’re probably even less familiar with the bodega sandwich.

However, not for long, as it is coming to Edinburgh courtesy of local chef, Sean Nixon, 30, and his fledgling business, Nixon’s Bodega.

“I was inspired by a trip to New York and Philadelphia in late 2019,” says Nixon, who has worked as a chef in Australia as well as Edinburgh’s Steak, Civerinos and Baba.

“Since then, I have obsessed about the sandwich culture in the US. I loved the community aspect of the bodega and how it was a focal point of neighbourhoods. I thought I could bring this style of community eatery experience to Edinburgh”.

Nixon, who decided to commit to his dream just before the second lockdown, is currently popping up at various locations, with his next cook up of “subs, sides ‘n’ soda” potentially at Nauticus bar on Edinburgh’s Duke Street.

The Big Cheese

If all goes to plan, he will be there on a weekend soon, serving Philly cheese sandwiches and sloppy Joes out of their hatch.

Choose from varieties including The 3 Amigos (pork and beef meatballs, San Marzano sugo, buffalo mozzarella, shaved Parmesan and parsley) and The Big Cheese (organic ribeye steak, caramelised brown onions and three cheese sauce). Sides include bodega ballers - aka gorgonzola mac ‘n’ cheese bites with chive and crispy pancetta, Panko breadcrumbs and a sugo dip. The sort of grub to put hair on your chest, even if you’re a woman.

Sean has been intensively testing out his dishes on friends and family.

“My signature dish will probably be either my chopped cheese sub or my cheese steak sub”, he says. “Both have proved favourites among those who have tried them. I spent weeks perfecting both”.

Sean Nixon

For sugar fans, there will eventually be cheesecake (“a classic New York cheesecake is my favourite dessert of them all”) and doughnuts.

These, as with Sean’s other creations, will be wrapped in their mustard yellow and ketchup red hued paper, with a caricature of his cheery face on the wrap. This will also appear on his future restaurant’s sign.

“The branding was created by my father and stepmother, Glenn Nixon and Natalie Wingate” he says. “They’re both great artists so I have lucked out on the creative front. Red and yellow are the most common colours of bodegas in New York, and following bodega tradition using the family name Nixon, along with an illustration of me, makes the brand more personable”.

The plan now is to find a permanent residence, at a time when it seems like the whole of Edinburgh’s restaurant scene is in flux.

Nixon's Bodega logo

“If I had to pick a neighborhood, it would either be Leith or Portobello”, he says “I’ve got a great connection to the people and general vibes of the areas”.

Hopefully we’ll see Sean’s name (and face) hanging above a doorway soon.

For more information on Nixon’s Bodega, follow them on Instagram @nixonsbodega

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