"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.
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
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