Longtime Greek American restaurateur Andy Koutsoudakis died from the coronavirus last Friday at Richmond County Medical Center, The Tribeca Trib reports.
Koutsoudakis, 59, the owner of Tribeca’s Kitchen on Church Street, was well-known to many for his warm, welcoming and cheerful spirit.
He came to the U.S. from his native Crete at age 14. His parents brought him, but then returned home, leaving their son under the supervision of an uncle.
“From 14 years old, my dad was on his own and didn’t speak a word of English and didn’t have any money, didn’t have anything,” his son Andreas told The Tribeca Trib. “He quickly jumped into the diner world, full of energy. The same guy you know.”
View this post on Instagram
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Andreas Koutsoudakis Sr. Andreas leaves behind his wife, Vanna, son Andreas Jr., his daughter in law Alexia, two grand daughters Vanna and Zoe, three sisters, four brother-in-laws, two sister-in-laws and dozens of nephews,nieces and cousins. Andreas was taken away from us eventually succumbing to the COVID-19 virus that has taken far too many too soon. He leaves behind a great legacy and magnanimous personality to all who knew him. A word from his son Andreas Jr.: Dear Daddy mou, Mommy and I want you to know we miss you dearly. You sacrificed your life for us until the end of your time with us. It feels like a bad dream and that you’re just on a fishing trip with your fishing buddies at sea with no reception, that you’ll be calling on your way home ready to distribute every last fish to friends and family. That’s what you did with everything. You gave every last ounce in you to whatever you touched. Whether it was work, family, friends, good times, bad times. You were always all in. You made the hard decisions, you were scared of nothing, and you loved life and the world. You always said “I’m always thinking, thinking, thinking..” You thought about everyone but yourself. Never enough time to do the things you loved, but the truth is, you did do what you loved. What you loved to do was doing whatever was needed to make others happy. Mommy and I, Alexia, Vanna, Zoe, your sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, cousins, friends, and extended family from all over the world remember your smile which I will do my best to carry on and be the best version of you I can be. We love you beyond description, and we will miss you pops. Dear Family & Friends, There is no roadmap of how to manage through a proper service for my pops. Things are not normal in this world right now. As much as flowers are appreciated, my dad would love nothing more than to have that spent on something that will help others. We have connected with a manufacturer of protective gowns and masks for doctors, nurses and first responders. GOFUNDME LINK: https://www.gofundme.com/f/medical-supplies-in-memory-of-andreas-koutsoudakis
In 1982, Koutsoudakis returned to Greece to marry his wife Vanna, the girl next door he had grown up with, and brought her back to New York City. A few years later, he and Panayilotou managed a diner in Chelsea called “Chelsea Gallery.” Then came “Gee Whiz.”
“You’re talking about somebody with no opportunity, ever,” Andreas told The Tribeca Trib, “and here he is the owner of a New York City restaurant.”
“Andy epitomized the American Dream,” Amy Sewell, who with her husband Charlie Sewell were dinner regulars every Monday evening at Tribeca’s Kitchen told The Tribeca Trib. “He was living it, always.”
Andreas, an attorney and his father’s advisor and close confidante, said there is “no way” he would close Tribeca’s Kitchen, and he may be looking to another family member to run it in the future.
“I hope people don’t think Tribeca’s Kitchen is just my dad. And without him, it’s not him. Because it is him. Everything he built in there is part of him,” he told the local newspaper.
Even as he lay in the hospital, Koutsoudakis’s generous spirit was present. “We brought the whole staff lunch and dinner every day,” Andreas said. “That’s what my dad would’ve wanted.”
Tribeca’s Kitchen was a favorite among New York City politicians, and several mourned Koutsoudakis’ loss on Twitter, including City Council speaker Corey Johnson.
We loved Andy – his smile, his spirit, his cheer and his community spirit.
Tribeca’s Kitchen and Ghee Whiz Diner won’t be the same without his warm presence and his welcomes.
Rest In Peace Andy. ❤️ https://t.co/B6tcYA2H1g
— Corey Johnson – FLATTEN THE CURVE & STAY HOME (@CoreyinNYC) March 30, 2020
Source: Tribeca Trib