Niko's is livening up the restaurant that specializes in Mediterranean flavors with events designed to entertain as well as provide a relaxing and casual culinary escape.
"We will be open five years next spring and I think the town has evolved and our restaurant has also evolved," says Nick Kyriakidis, who is co-owner with his wife, Amy. "What we're trying to do with the events is a natural change for us and complements downtown, which is becoming more vibrant each year."
Every fourth Friday night of the month, Niko's features a Dine around the World evening. The next Dine around the World will be held Oct. 28 and will feature Greece with $10 carafes of red and white Greek wines and a specialty menu with Greek cuisine.
Every Thursday through Nov. 10, Niko's is hosting its Pedal for Pints event, which encourages guests to get out for some exercise and a scenic bicycle ride. Guests are invited to ride a bicycle to Niko's from 4 p.m. to close to receive pints of Chattanooga Brewing Co. beer for $2.50 as well as street food and other beer specials. Plus participants can enter to win a brand new commuter bicycle from Cycle Sports Concepts.
"We feel we're a local neighborhood restaurant and as it gets cooler outside and people are enjoying the outdoors, they can ride or walk here from work or home," Kyriakidis says. "We're getting out of the old concept of going home after work to change and then go out-that's passé. Even if they are just coming after work for a cocktail and an appetizer, we're casual. You're not coming here to impress us - we're here to impress you. It's not about the pomp and circumstance of dining."
The restaurant's menu features ingredients from local farms throughout the Southeast. He says that even though the local ingredients may cost a little more, they are fresher and last longer, cutting down on expensive waste.
All the recipes are made from scratch in the kitchen at Niko's, prepped and finished by experienced and creative chefs. Kyriakidis says his kitchen staff is always busy grilling fresh lamb, pickling shallots and preparing other fresh components for recipes.
This fall's menu will introduce a variety of root vegetables and other hardy ingredients. The kitchen is able to create delicious meals for individuals during a quick lunch hour, a more casual smorgasbord for a gathering of friends and family at dinner, or a specialty menu for large groups during special events.
"It's not too early to think about booking space for Thanksgiving or Christmas - parties for 10 guests and up," Kyriakidis says. "We can customize the menu. We are extremely flexible and can offer a lot."
Niko's can cater events for up to 225 in the restaurant's upstairs banquet hall. This spacious room can be converted into a formal sit-down dinner area or be made into a more casual buffet and dancing atmosphere. For catering work luncheons or office meetings, Niko's can prepare signature sandwiches and salad bowls served in attractive boxes for the perfect presentation. There is also a variety of boardroom appetizer platters.
LOCATION: 1400 Cowart St.
HOURS: Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed Sundays.