< Back to Oral History project: Greek Restaurateurs in Birmingham
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. Theo spent his first year in Birmingham working with his brother, hoping to make some money and then head back home to Greece. Instead, Theo bought The Smoke House Restaurant in 1960, 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 neighboring restaurants. With fresh produce available right next door at the Farmer’s Market, it was a match made in heaven. Theo retired in 2000. 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.