Athena Theologitis-Connelly—“Even though I have a long last name, I'm still going to hyphenate it. I don't want to change it completely.”—cashiers at Niko's Greek Kitchen during the week at the West Street Market. She's forthright and didn't hesitate for a second when asked for an interview. She's a musician, though, accustomed to the limelight (“Two paths,” RN&R, Jan. 8). More information about her music can be found at www.athenacamille.com. More information about Niko's Greek Kitchen can be found at www.nikosgreekkitchen.com.
And how long have you worked here?
We’ve owned this one for about six years. We had a pizza place previous to this that was called Greko’s Pizza. We’ve been in the restaurant business locally for about 15 years.
Do you intend on working restaurants for your whole life?
Actually, we’re [gestures toward husband who is cooking a gyro] musicians. We’re planning on making a career out of that. I sing, and my husband is an MC. [He comes over to interject, “My name is Kevin Christopher Connnelly.”] His rap name is YB.
So where do you guys play around?
We do Knitting Factory, Jub Jub’s. He’s got a show coming up, actually, at Jub Jub’s on July 12 [Ces Cru, 7 p.m.]. We perform a lot locally. We’ve performed up at Tahoe. I’ve performed in Laughlin. He’s gone on tour. We kind of go everywhere with our music. We’re dropping a music video next month for our first single for our album. We’re kind of just expanding our music everywhere. We’re promoted by Universal Music Distribution, so we work with our group—that’s Keyringz—then we also do solo work as well.
So what will Niko do when you guys are out on tour?
He’s going to be chilling on an island somewhere. He’s going to be back home in Greece when we’re doing that. We’re going to be rich.
What about the short term?
Right now, we’re actually opening a second restaurant up in Spanish Springs, so we’ve been working on that lately. My father has been dealing with cancer for the last two years, or three years. He’s doing really good. Right now, he’s in remission, he doesn’t have any signs of any tumors. He’s doing really good, so that’s why he’s hanging out at the pool.
What do you think of all the stuff that’s going on with Greece right now?
I think it’s crazy. We were just reading an article. Unfortunately, all my family is back there. We have one uncle in New York. Other than that, all of our Greek family is in Greece. It’s been really hard on them, and we’ve been having to help them out here and there.
Can you send them money? With the depressed economy that seems like an opportunity.
It is, but my aunt owned a clothing store on an island in Greece and one in Athens, but the economy has been so bad she closed them down. It’s been crazy. After my dad’s done dealing with this cancer, and we get the second restaurant off the ground, he’s planning on going back home to help them out.