A hidden gem of a restaurant sits on Owensboro’s busiest road, Niko’s Italian Cuisine, started by a husband and a wife who moved to Owensboro almost 20 years ago and started this business from the ground up.
“From the time we’re here, we were here, in the restaurant, days and nights," said Lola Nousiadis, co-owner of Niko's. "It was tough. It was very tough. The restaurant business is a very tough Business anyway.”
But through years of hard work and craftsmanship in the kitchen, Niko’s created a name for themselves, and the co-owners at Niko's say what separates them from the rest of the restaurants in the city is what goes on back in the kitchen.
“It’s like we’re cooking at home," said Lola Nousiadis. "If we don’t like the dish, we’re not going to give it out, because we don’t like it. If I cannot eat it at home, I’m not going to serve it here.”
The care for every dish coming out of the window helped Niko’s to grow over the years, but the death of Lola’s husband and the owner and namesake of the restaurant, Niko, brought all that growth to a halt, but the city of Owensboro wrapped their arms around this local business.
“The people, they supported us after Niko’s death," said Lola Nousiadis. "We thought that was going to be it, but Spiro wanted to continue.”
And since the death of the patriarch of this family, Lola’s son, Spiro, has stepped up in his place.
“If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here," said Spiro Nousiadis, co-owner of Niko's Italian Cuisine. "He motivates me every single day, still, to just keep doing this. There were many times that I thought about quitting or leaving after he passed, and he’s just my main motivation.”
Lola and Spiro continue to wake up early and stay late each and every day to run Niko’s, and though Lola plans to retire soon, she believes her husband would be proud of the restaurant her and her son continue to operate.
“I think he’s proud of us," said Lola Nousiadis. "We’ve tried so hard. We are still trying.”