Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q
Jim 'N Nick's Community Bar-B-Q is a casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1985 by insurance executive Jim Pihakis and his son Nick. It is currently wholly owned by the Roark Capital Group of Atlanta, Georgia. Since December 2019 Larry Ryback has served as the Atlanta-based CEO of the chain.
The first Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q opened in a former Pasquale's Pizza location at 744 29th Street South, at the corner of Clairmont Avenue in Lakeview. The chain expanded by adding partners to the overall ownership and granting them territorial rights. Rights to the Atlanta area were initially split between partners Bob McGurk (western metro) and Bryan Lyman (eastern metro). Later the ownership model was changed so that the company offered a 20% stake in each location to its local management partners.
Jim Pihakis died in 2000, leaving the business to his son. Between 2010 and 2014, Nick Pihakis was nominated annually for the James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Restaurateur" award. In 2012 Jim 'N Nick's parent company, the Fresh Hospitality Group, opened a Little Donkey burrito restaurant and Octane coffee house in Homewood. Later that year the chain opened its own pork processing plant in the Eva community.
In 2013 the company hired Big Communications to update their advertising and menus, adding "Community" to their name to emphasize their support of local communities and Southern culinary traditions, through sponsorship of the Southern Foodways Alliance. The campaign was recognized in seven categories at the 2014 Birmingham Advertising Awards. At the time, a typical new Jim 'N Nick's location seated 215 diners in 5,500 square feet and cost around $3 million to construct. Yearly revenues averaged over $4 million, with up to 40 percent of revenues coming from take out and catering orders.
In 2014 Jim 'N Nick's joined with New York's Dinosaur Barbecue under a single "Good Smoke" holding company in order to negotiate jointly with suppliers, insurers and other contract partners. The collective's centralized purchasing and accounting operations were located in Dallas, Texas.
In July 2017 Jim 'N Nick's became part of Pihakis Hospitality Group when Fresh Hospitality and all its other holdings were acquired by the Roark Capital Group of Atlanta, Georgia. Fresh Hospitality's COO Brian Lyman was named president of Roark Capital. The "Good Smoke" partnership was ended, and some of the back-office positions returned to Birmingham.
The chain currently includes 38 locations, eight of which are in the Birmingham area. Other locations can be found in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In 2018 Pihakis expected future growth to be focused within those existing markets.
Birmingham area locations
- 295 Alabaster Boulevard, Alabaster (November 11, 2008-present)
- 1908 11th Avenue South, Birmingham (Five Points South, formerly 11th Avenue Grill)
- 915 Odum Road, Gardendale
- 220 Oxmoor Road, Homewood
- 2831 Greystone Commercial Boulevard, Hoover (Greystone)
- 1810 Montgomery Highway, Hoover (Riverchase)
- 1804 U.S. Highway 78 East, Jasper
- Colonial Promenade at Tutwiler Farm, 1660 Gadsden Highway, Trussville
- 305 21st Avenue, Tuscaloosa
- Bishop, Lauren (June 15, 2003) "Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q has all the right ingredients." Birmingham Business Journal
- Tobin Ramos, Rachel (June 23, 2006) "Birmingham-based Jim 'N Nick's is smokin' in metro Atlanta area". Birmingham Business Journal
- "Jim ‘N Nick’s celebrates a year". (November 9, 2009) Shelby County Reporter - accessed November 10, 2009
- Black, Jane (March 6, 2012) "It takes a village to build a sustainable following." Washington Post
- Williams, Roy L. (May 29, 2012) "Birmingham-based Jim 'N Nick's begins pork pipeline with processing plant." The Birmingham News
- Carlton, Bob (November 21, 2014) "Alabama's Jim 'N Nick's, New York's Dinosaur form barbecue partnership." The Birmingham News
- Carlton, Bob (July 13, 2017) "Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q acquired by Atlanta private equity group." The Birmingham News
- Mann, Joshua (September 1, 2021) "Jim 'N Nick's plans significant expansion push." Birmingham Business Journal
- Jim 'N Nick's web site