Nick Pihakis
Jim ’N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q
Birmingham, Ala.

In the words of poet Jake Adam York: “It’s no wonder that you can find, in Alabama, almost any kind of barbecue. Whether the influence is Cherokee, Appalachian, Georgian, Mississippian, Floridian, Tennessean, Texan, or just plain Alabamian, barbecue springs up everywhere, with significant variation.” Pihakis, founder of Jim ’N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q restaurants, is on a mission to see that all Alabama barbecue is made from responsibly-raised meat.

Why we chose this barbecue:

nickpihakisAfter traveling across the Southeast with California rancher Bill Niman (of Niman Ranch fame) eight years ago, Pihakis realized there was an incredible dearth of farmers raising pigs in humane, environmentally friendly ways. Now, through his Fatback Pig Project, Pihakis incentivizes local farmers to raise healthy, happy hogs for Jim ’N Nick’s — and other restaurants in his hospitality group. “We’ve started a processing plant for these farmers, and put a distribution system and end user in place,” says Pihakis.

Better meat means better business:

Pihakis thinks a regional economy for sustainable swine is well within reach. “There’s got to be a breaking point in there where the farmers can make a good living, and we can sell good product [that’s] local, and we know how it’s raised,” he says.

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