'Pizza Nick' heading back to kitchen for spaghetti feed fundraiser
April 20th | Carey Restino
There are few in Homer who haven't run into Nick Baraimis over the years. Most recently, the thick Greek accent can be heard greeting people at the airport as Baraimis drives people around town in his taxi. But for a long time, the fisherman's cap could be seen behind the counter of Pizza Nick's, a restaurant that ran for decades serving up legendary pizzas to the hungry of Homer.
For years now, Baraimis has been out of the kitchen, family says, but that's all changing this week as he heads into Homer's Salvation Army kitchen to cook up a spaghetti feast like only he can.
Captain Christin Fankhauser said the fundraiser will help send 11 people from the church to Long Beach, Calif., for a national convention.
"It's important for Alaskans," Fankhauser said. "I think a lot of people that come to our church don't get to see the larger church body as a whole."
Among those traveling will be Baraimis' granddaughter who will be having her junior soldier ceremony, much like a confirmation in other churches, Fankhauser said. Others will participate in meetings for men and women, and there will be musical performances.
Fankauser said while many people recognize the social services the Salvation Army performs — from second-hand stores to subsistence abuse programs — far fewer realize there is a church congregation behind all that effort.
"Service was the No. 1 mission of the founder William Booth," Fankauser said, noting that Booth was inspired to help the downtrodden people living on the streets in London, sometimes by literally pulling them out of the ditches. "Few people realize we actually have church programming, too."
Baraimis is no stranger to serving his fellow man — from feeding local bartenders to offering free New Year's Eve taxi rides. But it has been a few years since he's cooked for the community. But even a causal mention of the fundraiser created quite a buzz, Fankauser said.
"A lof of people are familiar with Nick," she said. "We are blessed that he is cooking for us, and we're happy to help him come out of retirement."
The spaghetti feed fundraiser runs Saturday from 4-8 p.m. with meals $10 a person including meat or marinara spaghetti sauce and a dinner roll. People can eat at the church at 1468 Sterling Highway or get delivery in the city by calling 756-3155.