Nicki’s first hospitality industry job was in her hometown of Grayslake, Illinois, Sammies-Chicago Style Sandwiches, est. 1964. Here she worked with Sammie himself learning everything these is to know about running a counter service restaurant. In the summers, she interned one of Chicago’s most exclusive Golf Club’s, Conway Farms. Learning to work in every aspect of the club Nicki also worked many of the club’s WGA & PGA Tournaments, such as WGA, The Cannon Cup, PGA, BMW, and NCAA Finals. Her time there was spent doing everything from mowing ruff to fine dining club service then given the responsibility of managing the club’s first ever turn house.
Nicki attended Michigan State University, she earned a BA Degree from the number one hospitality school in the nation, Eli Board’s, The School of Hospitality Business. Upon graduation she began to pursue a career in food and beverage management in 2008. She spent 2 years as Assistant Manager of Food and Beverage at The Omni Chicago Hotel, opening the first patio restaurant to sit on Michigan Avenue as well as creating the first cocktail menu for 676 Restaurant and eventually running the wine program. Then making the move to world famous, Fairmont San Francisco Hotel as a Banquet Manager as well as Food and Beverage Manager, working on major events including, Michelle Obama’s Ladies Luncheon, Arnold Schwarzenegger Campaign Dinner, and ABC’s “The Bachelor”. With wine country so close Nicki spent many days up in Napa and Sonoma County where her passion for wine and knowledge expended. During this time Nicki took some classes with the International Sommelier Guild (ISG) passing levels 1 &2.
In 2012, she decided to take time off from the hotel industry. Nicki joined Don Pisto’s Restaurant, in North Beach, San Francisco, as the Beverage Consultant. Don Pisto’s is home of “The Hamburguesa,” 7×7 Magazines, 50 Things to Eat Before You Die. Finally, having some extra time to study Nicki passed Level One of the Court of Master Sommeliers Exam. Upon that achievement, in 2013 she was asked to join the opening team for San Francisco’s premier social club, The Battery, a venture started by tech genius Michael and his wife Xochi Birch. After a few months of working with Master Sommelier & MOF, Chirstophe Tasson she earned the title of Certified Specialist of Wine. During her time at these two establishments she also worked side by side with the owner Pushback Wines, Nick Floulis, to develop an online store as well as a wine club for his brand. In 2014, she married a St. Louisan, Adam Smith and made the move to Missouri where she has held the title of General Manager at Dave Bailey’s newest venture, Rooster South Grand. She is excited to join the team at Reed’s as her fourth restaurant opening!