Jim 'N Nick's Community Bar-B-Q
Nick Pihakis, the grandson of Greek immigrants, realized as a teenager that he wanted to be in the restaurant business. His family moved from Pennsylvania to Birmingham in 1970 when Pihakis was thirteen. His first restaurant job was tending bar at Rossi’s, a well-known Italian place owned by Greek restaurateur Connie Kanakis. After Nick’s father, Jim, retired from selling insurance they opened Jim ‘N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q in 1985. Nick and a partner later built it into a seven-state empire. They also launched Fresh Hospitality Group, which owns, capitalizes, manages and advises restaurants and cafes in several states. Pihakis also is a driving force behind the Fatback Pig Project, which contracts with farmers to raise heritage hogs for processing at an Alabama plant. Some is used for special events; some is cured for branded bacon and sausage for Donald Link’s Cochon in New Orleans, John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast, Jim N’ Nick’s and Fatback’s label. Pihakis is active in educational programs, including the Jones Valley Teaching Farm in urban Birmingham.