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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Greek Restaurateurs in Birmingham


Nick Pihakis

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.

Date of interview:

Eric Velasco

Andrew Thomas Lee

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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