Nancy Drakos is a friend for life

Published 3:48 pm Monday, December 20, 2010

Columbiana friends Betty Broome, Ouida Mayfield, Linda Major, Peg Hill, Nancy Drakos (sitting), St George’s Church member Helen Zaden, Nell Prosch, Betty Holcombe and Marsha Parsons celebrate Drakos’s birthday at St George’s 29th Annual Middle Eastern Food Festival in Birmingham.

Nancy Karagrannis Drakos is a true friend; once you are her friend, you are her friend for life.

Drakos, the daughter of a Greek immigrant, grew up in Tarpon Springs, Fla., where her family worked in the sponge business. They moved to Gary, Ind., after the devastating Red Tide killed the Gulf sponges and began work in the restaurant business.

There, young Nancy was introduced to Angelo Drakos by relatives.

“It was very Greek,” said Drakos of her courtship and wedding.

The Drakos had four children: Dino, Kiki, George and Andria. The restaurant business brought the family to Birmingham.

In 1985, life changed forever when Angelo died.

Left a widow with four children, an opportunity came in 1986 to buy the Country Cupboard restaurant in Columbiana, which her son Dino encouraged her to do. The new business and town welcomed her, and the House of Plenty was born.

Drakos moved into her new home on Ferry Road behind the restaurant and began a new chapter in the life.

Drakos met Donna Morris, who invited her to join the Vignette Club. The Vignettes became close friends, and she has been an active, invaluable member, especially with the “Have a Heart for the Arts” fashion show and luncheon fundraiser for the Shelby County Arts Council, sponsored by the Culture, Novella, and Vignette clubs. Drakos has provided the delicious food and coordinated the adult fashions for several years.

Drakos is devoted to her church, the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Trinity-Holy Cross, and to her faith. She joined Community Bible Study at its inception and has been the assistant to Core Leader Nell Prosch for more than 10 years. Community Bible Study and Bible study are an important part of her life.

“You become accountable to your friends,” said Drakos.

The years 1991 and 1992 were traumatic for Drakos. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and her restaurant burned to the ground. Drakos moved to Pelham to be closer to her family and her new business, the Fish Market in Hoover.

Although she moved, part of her heart and friends remain in Columbiana. For her recent birthday, she gave herself a birthday party for her Columbiana friends. Drakos wanted them to experience a traditional Greek lunch. Eight friends had lunch at the St. George’s Middle Eastern Food Festival, a Melkite church similar in traditions to her Greek orthodox church.

A birthday party for your friends – that’s Nancy Drakos, a friend for life.

Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by e-mail at

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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