ZORBA'S  
 

Sacramento, California

 

 

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Nick "Zorba" Galaxidas was born on June 13, 1938 in Sparta, Greece.  He grew up in the town of Molai where he attended school until moving to Athens where he attended the Prometheas Marine Engineering School.  After graduation, Nick joined his father in South America, Bolivia.

Nick's father had a thriving shoe factory in La Paz, Bolivia.  Nick soon joined the business, learning a variety of the business's aspects.  But after his father's death, and due to the Bolivian political climate, Nick traveled to Montreal, Quebec in search of a new life.  It was there that he learned to speak English, earned enough to bring his mother and brother over, and eventually met his wife.  It was also during this time that Nick was learning the restaurant business, eventually becoming captain of the main dining room at Ruby Foos Restaurant, one of the largest and most "chic" restaurants in Montreal.

His wife was from California and Nick returned with her to Sacramento.  He gained employment in several local restaurants, and in 1966 he took over the Golden Slipper as 1225 K Street - the future home of Zorba the Greek.  He became the owner in 1967 and gradually built the business from an "empty basement" to one of Sacramento's most well-known restaurants/nightclubs.  Nick became the host known for his warmth and friendliness, and as an entertainer as well.  Many people came just to see him do his famous Ouzo Tavern Dance in which he lifted a heavy table with his teeth, dancing all the while.  His mother was head chef of the restaurant and his brother served as a bartender and part-time waiter.

The restaurant became so popular that there were guests fortunate enough to make it in would stand in the aisles for his shows.  Nick hosted large parties and Balkan cultural events (the Greek Wine Festival, Greek Easter and New Year's Eve) and would rent out larger venues, like the Senator Hotel.  But nothing was quite large enough and Nick hated turning away patrons, so in 1970, leased a building across from the restaurant and expanded his business.  The expansion, as well as the completion of the Sacramento Convention Center, lent to the great success of the business - until fire destroyed the business and forced Nick to close the business temporarily and possibly relocate.

Not even a fire could stop Nick.  If anything, the flames on K Street fueled his desire to accomplish something even greater with his next venture.  He successfully relocated his business to Auburn Boulevard and the new location granted great success for Nick and his family.  Zorba's was a focal tourist point, big name entertainers performed, and patrons were thrilled when Nick would regularly perform his Ouzo Tavern Dance.

In 1983, Nick retired from performing and also closed the restaurant.  He and his restaurant remain a fond memory for thousands of Sacramentans, as well as the numerous out of town and out of state visitors that enjoyed Zorba's. 

 

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