While doing research on the history of the Veranda and talking with a few people around town about the upcoming article, someone mentioned that Jim and Nick Koikos, once owners of The Merritt House and current owners of The Bright Star, were the owners of Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q. I knew this was incorrect '97 my best friend attended school with members of the Pihakis family, who actually founded the popular barbecue joint '97 but made a note of it anyway. (Nick Pihakis and his father, Jim, founded the company 23 years ago.)
But in recent years I had read articles about new partners joining the Jim 'N Nick's mix, so I thought I should at least make sure the Koikos brothers hadn't become involved in the restaurant's expansion, which, in fact, has included the addition of new partners and locations in and outside of Alabama. At the time, it didn't seem like such an unlikely partnership.
However, as I had expected, Jim and Nick Koikos don't have anything to do with Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q. Unfortunately, I failed to delete the mention even after several revisions of the story, including the one that will be distributed to the masses tomorrow morning. (This is the perfect example as to why it's a bad idea to babysit a six-year-old while trying to do anything that requires the least bit of concentration.)
I hope those of you who are able to keep your Jims and Nicks straight will forgive my oversight. As for the rest of you, might I suggest a helpful project from the Southern Foodways Alliance? It's an oral history of Greek restaurateurs in Birmingham sponsored by a grant from '97 guess who? '97 Jim 'N Nick's. The project includes interviews with Jim Koikos of The Bright Star, The Fish Market's George Sarris, George Nasiakos of Gus's Hot Dogs, Zoe Cassimus of Zoe's Kitchen and several other folks in the Birmingham community that have made the Magic City a great place to be hungry.
See it for yourself here: www.southernfoodways.com/oral_history/greek