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Niko Karatassos named president/COO of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, the longtime Atlanta company that runs the upscale Chops Lobster Bar, Bistro Niko, Pricci, Kyma and Veni Vidi Vici, among others, has named a new president and chief operating officer.

Karatassos, son of Buckhead Life Founder and CEO Pano Karatassos, was promoted to the position this week. He most recently served as director of operations for the company, but has held a variety of positions over the past 28 years.

"It's been a natural evolution of working in a family business," said Niko, 42. "I'm very excited. I love this company. It's a family of restaurants. It's a family of people that roll their sleeves up and work so hard every day."

Niko first starting working for company in 1986, at age 14, as a busboy at Atlanta Fish Market when it was at Lenox Square mall.

"It was very exciting," Niko said. "I got to be part of the restaurant. I had a lot of pride."

After he earned a hospitality degree from Florida International University, Niko worked as an assistant manager at Pricci, Nava and Veni Vidi Vici during the mid-90s.

In 1999, Niko opened Bluepointe restaurant in Buckhead (now Chef Ford Fry's St. Cecilia) and served as its general manager. Niko later worked as director of human resources. And, in 2009, Niko collaborated with his father and brother, Chef Pano I. Karatassos, in the development and opening of his namesake restaurant, Bistro Niko, a French bistro on Peachtree Road in Buckhead.

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