Even before we started our food blog, we would hit up EOS on Summer Street in Stamford. We loved the fresh, inspired dishes that were contemporary plays on classic Greek dishes. And, we loved sitting outside on their patio, letting the day float by. Years later, we still love EOS and keep it at the top of our list for restaurants that we love here in Fairfield County. Part of the reason why EOS has been rated top Greek restaurant year after year and remains at the top of restaurant lists in Stamford (and Fairfield County) is definitely the food, but there is a whole family behind the success. One of those family members is Nikki Glekas. She’s part chef, part owner, and 100% fireball. Whether you see her at the restaurant, at a charity event, a cooking contest, or a catering party, Nikki brings it…and brings it hard.
So, you could imagine how happy and excited we were to learn that Nikki was taking over Bank Street Events in Stamford! And, topping it all off, it seemed like a natural fit for Nikki to also open up Nikki Glekas Event Design. Well, we wanted to know more, find out her inspiration, see what kind of food she will be serving, and her plans for the future. For a little taste of what Bank Street Events offers, definitely check out the free Taste of Bank Street event from 6-8 on 9/18 (described below) and be sure to RSVP.
How did the opportunity to purchase Bank Street Events happen?
Three years ago I was searching for a venue to host my son’s christening. I had over 100 people, so it was too big for my restaurant EOS. I had gone to Bank Street 10 years ago for an event and remembered I loved the space, so I called and left a message to speak with the owner. When Ted (the owner) called me back I explained I was interested in renting the space from him for my son’s christening and cater from EOS. We agreed on a price and had an awesome event. Afterwards when I was leaving my husband and I were thanking Ted and nonchalantly said, “If you ever want to sell this space, let us know.” This past April, Ted sent me an email asking if I was still interested in my offer to buy…it was like it was meant to be.
What interested you in Bank Street Events?
The space is so unique…old banks are great for restaurants, clubs, venues. The original vault is still there, actually, and really enhances how unique the space is. There is a need in Stamford for venues like this and although this space has been a catering venue for a long time, my energy and passion will really make it shine. Plus, it’s walking distance to EOS so it’s very convenient for me to be operating both businesses.
Do you feel like your time at EOS had helped to inspire you to move in this new direction?
Absolutely, before we opened EOS I worked for an event design company, managed night clubs in NYC, and dreamed about one day opening a venue where I could host weddings and events…I was born a natural hostess and event planner. My ultimate dream is to one day have a TV show where I could creatively show viewers how a theme of a party can be shown in everything from the printed material, to the food, décor, drinks, entertainment, and more.
One month into opening EOS I was approached from a customer to cater his wedding, I was so excited and really went all out including purchasing Vineyard Vines navy polo shirts for my staff with white pants so guests could get the full effect of the waterfront nautical theme. Those customers have become VIPs at EOS and we cater at least one party a year at their home. That was the start of my off site catering. EOS has given me the opportunity to meet many people and companies in Stamford which has helped me contact them to introduce them to my new venue. Also, EOS has won best Greek restaurant in Fairfield County the last 6 years which has helped create creditability for myself and our food.
What kind of food will you be serving at Bank Street and what kind of events will you have?
The menu is inspired by EOS, but has more Mediterranean cuisine. We also created some fun stations such as “comfort food” which includes pulled pork sliders, mac and cheese, candied bacon Brussel sprouts, homemade fries in cones and tomato soup with grilled cheese. Ironically, we explained our menu and many customers have asked to include different items from the menu at EOS. We are flexible and happy to create a menu based on what the customers guests would like served…I love to be creative and to think outside the box!
I am currently booking many parties, already, for 2015. Right now most of the bookings are weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs with corporate holiday parties booking up fast for December. The space is great for all types of corporate events with a capacity of up to 250 for cocktail parties. For a sit down wedding we can seat up to 200 people. For bar/bat mitzvahs, the space is the amazing because kids can have a buffet on the main level with the dance floor while the adults can enjoy their own bar and sit down affair upstairs while still having a view of the children from the balcony.
In addition to booking the space for events I will also be hosting my own events. For example, on October 16th I am hosting a Cancer Benefit in honor of a family friend with all net proceeds going to MEGS LEGS of Hope in Motion benefitting Bennett Cancer Center of Stamford Hospital. We have tons of sponsors including Stamford Hospital and Moffly Media. More information about the event and purchasing tickets will be on my Bank Street website soon. We are also planning a New Year’s Eve event with a prefix dinner, open bar + DJ as well as an amazing Mother’s Day Brunch with mimosa, bloody mary + sangria bars.
We also see that you started Nikki Glekas Event Design. What is the focus of your Event Design company?
Nikki Glekas Event Design seemed a natural fit since I have been already designing and organizing my customers’ décor, flower arrangements, staff, rentals, linens, tent, menus, printed material, flow, vendors (cake, dj, photographer, etc.). In the past 6 years I have been offering off site catering from EOS with full event services. I have been waiting to brand myself as an “event planner” and the purchase of Bank Street Events was the perfect time. My focus of event design is still at Bank Street and EOS but not limited to either. I still offer off site catering + event design and I am still booking tented events at customers’ homes. Most of the events I am hired for are weddings, rehearsal dinners, fundraisers, christenings, baby and bridal showers and birthday parties…so, all types of parties really.
Can you tell us a little about your Open House event?
My open house on September 18th is a “Taste of Bank Street” and I will be passing a few butlered hors d’ouevures and champagne for guests to taste the quality of our food. I am designing the main dining area in “4 looks” with specialty linens, place settings, chair treatments, printed materials, and centerpieces to give people (especially brides and grooms) ideas of how I can create the space. Downstairs I will have high tops set up to give corporations ideas of how the space can work for their company. My team and I have been working very hard the last couple months to prepare for this by creating new menus, logos, a website, and renovating. Needless to say, I am excited to showcase my work to friends, family, Stamford residents and potential clients. Anyone is welcome to attend!