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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.

ORAL HISTORY

Theo Hontzas


Theo Hontzas arrived in Birmingham from Greece in 1958, when he was twenty-five years old. His brother, Gus Hontzas, was already here running Niki’s West, and so Theo spent his first year in Birmingham working with his brother, hoping to make some money and then head back home to Greece. Soon, though, Theo found a restaurant to call his own, and the Hontzas family dug its heels even deeper into Birmingham’s restaurant history. The Smoke House had been open for a while as a short-order place, but Theo saw the opportunity to make it a family business, serving fresh vegetables and a few traditional Greek items that rivaled the menu down the street. And with fresh produce available right next door at the Farmer’s Market, it was a match made in Heaven. Theo is retired now, and his son Pete (first cousin to Pete C. Hontzas down the street at Niki’s West) has taken the reins. Stop in for the Greek-style fish or chicken and as many vegetables you can fit on your plate.

Date of interview:
2004-03-12 10:30

Interviewer:
Amy Evans

Photographer:
Amy Evans

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