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'Tesla of Food' closes $6.7M Seed Round with Elon's investors


Nick Nanakos is taking the long view.

Founder and CEO of Austin-based ZIKI, Nanakos is on a "multi-decade, global-scale conquest to build the most significant company to ever exist in food."

His Spartan ancestry has made him a fighter for excellence, and his Macedonian heritage (think Alexander the Great) may be what helps drive him toward empire.

Venture capital firm Gigafund, core Elon Musk backers who invested more than $1B into SpaceX, are backing Nanakos's expansive vision of disrupting and transforming the food industry on an industrial scale.

His plan to optimize and re-aggregate multiple elements—ingredients, chefs, cooking techniques, agriculture, teams, factories, real estate, systems, technology, design, and logistics—all integrated on a foundation of proprietary technology, reminds at least one of his investors of a famous trillion-dollar Austin-based company.

"ZIKI is approaching restaurants the same way Tesla approaches cars—with a master plan to be the fastest, most creative company in the category," said investor Ryan Metzger.


ZIKI is short for "Tzatziki," Greek cuisine's most iconic flavor

ZIKI is a fast-casual restaurant serving Greek & Mexican fusion. Signature bowls, zurritos, salads, sides, drinks, and desserts. The brand's hot pink color illuminates from a distance and is impossible to miss. Food is prepared fresh daily. Veggies, dairy, and meats are sourced locally.

The Zurrito, Greek Fries, Falafel Bowl, Gyro Bowl, Pork Bowl, Quezzadilla


Head of Quality Control, Chef Mo, outlines the system and philosophy: “Proper food sourcing, agricultural partnerships, and quality control systems are imperative to our kitchen operations. The food must always look good, and make people feel good as well."

Nanakos says that it’s as much about the heart as it is the head. “Food is a passion business. Embracing our chefs by creating the best possible environment for them determines the outcome of the food. Our chefs are the backbone to our business. When they are happy, they thrive.”

Get ready, Austin—you're about to turn pink


With the boost from Gigafund, ZIKI's goal is to quickly have the largest restaurant presence in all of Austin, before expanding to other cities.

"Austin's love of food, culture, and tech are what add to its vibrancy," says ZIKI’s Head of Marketing, Kat Vasylyshyn. "We're painting the city pink."

ZIKI is a member of the largest commercial kitchen in Texas. This serves as their central point of logistics for local restaurant operations. Food inventory arrives here from suppliers. It's prepared on-site, ensuring the highest quality, with an added level of safety and control.

A fleet of Sprinter vans brings the food to modular kitchens for final prep.

ZIKI's systems identify areas with the highest order volume densities and target those areas for placement of new kitchens.

Getting big fast: Why ZIKI is the Tesla of restaurants


CEO Nick Nanakos is not afraid to state his bold plan: "Our vision is to become the fastest-growing restaurant company on the planet, with unstoppable unit economics."

That doesn't just happen on its own. ZIKI's Chief of Staff, Anthony D'Apolito III, says the Gigafund backing is the green light for a fast start: "We've spent an enormous amount of time building systems prior to our funding, which has positioned us well for scale, and that's showing now in how quickly we're moving."

ZIKI believes that a restaurant should control its own expansion destiny. This is why they're vertically-integrated, manufacturing modular restaurants in the company's Texas factory.

Cutting-edge developments in manufacturing, technology, real estate, and hiring complete the picture.

ZIKI is a company led by a driven, visionary founder that's ready to conquer the world, starting by making you happy with their Greek/Mexican fusion fare, right here in Austin.

You can keep up with ZIKI on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and their website.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway