Andy Koutsoudakis Sr., owner of Tribeca’s Kitchen, dies from the coronavirus

Andreas Koutsoudakis, who ran Tribeca’s Kitchen and for decades previously also owned and operated Gee Whiz, died yesterday after contracting the coronavirus — just two weeks after closing the restaurant to protect his clients and staff from the virus. He was known as Andy to much of the neighborhood, where his reputation as a warm and gracious host, as well as his open and friendly nature, made him a real presence in Tribeca.

His family has posted a moving tribute in pictures (below) and in words on Facebook, written by his son Andreas Koutsoudakis Jr., who co-owned Tribeca’s Kitchen with him.

“Mommy and I want you to know we miss you dearly,” Andreas Jr. wrote. “You sacrificed your life for us until the end of your time on earth. It feels like a bad dream and that you’re just on a fishing trip with your fishing buddies, out at sea with no reception, but that you’ll be calling on your way home to tell us how much fish you all caught and then come 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.”

Andreas leaves behind his wife, Vanna; his daughter-in-law, Alexia; two granddaughters, Vanna and Zoe; as well as three sisters and their families. He and his original business partner, Peter Panayiotou, opened Gee Whiz in 1989, and it became a Tribeca institution, sponsoring hundreds of little league and soccer teams (it was a point of pride for neighborhood kids to find their team picture on the wall), providing food for countless fundraisers for local organizations — especially those for PS 234 — and hosting thousands of families’ milestones — birthdays, graduations, holiday meals, Sunday dinners.

“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,” his son wrote. “[We all will] remember your smile, which I will do my best to carry on and be the best version of you I can be. I have always strived to be exactly that, and it has worked out great, so I know following in your footsteps was always your plan for me before yesterday and after.”

While the family said flowers would have been appreciated, they are sure that Andreas would prefer that any money spent would go toward something that will help others. So instead they are asking that donations be made to a GoFundMe campaign, where the funds will be used to supply protective gowns and masks for doctors, nurses and first responders at Richmond County Medical Center in Staten Island. “It is no secret that these are our ‘soldiers’ and our armed forces are fighting this invisible enemy without the supplies they need to win this war. We are raising money to buy and provide these great men and women the protection and supplies they need in the tireless effort to treat very sick people like my dad.”

You can donate here.

 

 

70 Comments

  1. Crushing news. My condolences to Andrea & family.
    Andy & Pete were my biggest clients @ GeeWhiz, delivering produce to them for 10 years until I moved to Florida. I had the privilege to know Andy from the days he was a Manager at Chelsea Gallery with Pete. I’ll never forget him always calling me “kid”….I was in my 20’s.
    He will be missed……what an awesome guy Andy was….tears going down my cheeks.

    Rest in peace Andy.

  2. A piece of Tribeca’s heart is gone. Andy lived through all of it: the butter-and-egg merchants, the artists, the titans of finance. He was a constant. Always that smile, that graciousness, his pride of place. Big things: helping the neighborhood however he could, whenever he was asked. Little things: when he moved to Tribeca’s Kitchen, he always put aside some taramasalata for me. It wasn’t on the menu, but he knew how much I liked it. The community mourns Andy’s passing.

  3. Absolutely heartbreaking. Although we no longer live in the neighborhood, I have so many fond memories of Andreas. I loved going to Gee Whiz with my young children and husband. He always greeted us with a big smile and made us feel so welcome, no matter how many high chairs we needed or how busy the diner was. It was a joy to practice my Greek with him and share my love of Crete. My deepest condolences to his family. He was a shining light. May his memory be eternal.

  4. Who was better friend, host, man, member of the community? Always a smile and a hug. Caring in a way that people can and do…he did. Missed. Remembered. Loved.

  5. I AM NUMB!
    It’s not often you meet a sweet soul. One of those people who you know just blesses folks with their presence. This was Andy!
    I’m a native NYer who moved to South Carolina ( I know, 🤷🏽‍♀️ but I met my husband there). I come back to NY yearly (sometimes twice) to visit my oldest, dearest friend for some serious girl time. I always arrived mid-day and my first meal was ALWAYS Andy’s Tribeca’s Kitchen. Delicious food and great service yes, but mostly, there was Andy! I usually stay in NY a week at a time and we always ate there twice. I thank GOD I got to tell Andy last May that I am not home, until I eat at his table!
    To the Koutsoudakis Family. May GOD give you comfort on this devastating loss. Andy was a good soul, I have no doubt he is with the Lord! Please know he was one of those people who really made a difference in our lives. His zest for people really showed and we are heartbroken! Thank you for sharing him with us! Rest In Peace Mr. Andy! Thanks for the sunshine!

  6. Good Bye Andy we will miss you. It was always a pleasure
    to see you and talk about the neighborhood.

    Thank you for the wonderful olive oil you gave us. Not to mention
    all the good breakfasts.

    We love you, please rest in peace. Your neighbors

    Rochelle and Michael

    Condolences to Andy’s family.

  7. RIP Andy always polite and nice 🙏🏼🕯

  8. It breaks my heart to hear this. Andy was the nicest restaurant owner I’ve ever met. He was kind not only to me but to my family and friends. This is devastating. May the Lord protect his family and keep Andy under his wings.

  9. This is so heartbreaking. I’m still in shock hearing about Andy’s passing. Andy treated me like family from the first day I met him five years ago. Everytime I walked into Tribeca Kitchen he always greeted me with a beautiful smile. Always threw in extra cookies with my lunch. He will be missed.

  10. Eat there frequently. He will be missed.

  11. Heartbreaking news. Our thoughts go out to all of his friends and family. He will be deeply missed in our community.

  12. I just heard the heartbreaking news of Andy’s passing. Tribeca’s Kitchen was my go-to place from its opening until I retired last year. Andy was so warm and treated me, and all his customers, with graciousness, friendliness, and good cheer, regardless of how busy the place was. And busy it was. Andy was great at what he did and his passing is an awful loss to the neighborhood, his employees, and all of us who loved him. I was last there a couple of months ago on my way through Manhattan, and was greeted by Andy with a hug and a chat, and a tasty lunch.

    My deepest condolences to Andy’s family on the profound loss of this lovely man. I wish you peace and comfort in the time ahead and may you draw strength from each other and in your happy memories of Andy.

  13. The great host with a never ending smile, A man who grew up in a restaurant world, will be missed greatly!
    Our condolences to Andreas’s family, and loved ones, may his memory live for ever !!

  14. This news breaks my heart. I’ve been away for 2 months. We went every Sunday morning for Gf pancakes and egg wrap – my friends and I went regularly during the week as well – Andy helped me so much when I was working on my Greek pronunciation for a Hanukah event – even though we missed the Christmas Santa event, he made sure to give my son a present, and every time we came – he allowed my son got a free sprinkle cookie every visit – especially if he didn’t destroy the diner that morning :) – It was the best place, and one of the only GF conscious diners I knew about and it was ON MY CORNER – couldn’t believe my luck when it opened and how friendly everyone is – and can’t believe he’s gone. We miss the Kitchen, and his warm smile and greeting -and I truly can’t believe this – it’s a shock and a tragedy – Send love and prayers to the whole family – Me and my son will miss him so much. RIP

  15. Megan and I moved to Tribeca for my job in 2015 and quickly fell in love with the Kitchen. Andy became my friend and would always stop what he was doing to welcome us. Trying to sober up from the night before or trying the new specials, Andy always wanted to make sure we liked it. We always did. We walked by the restaurant today and the sign said Love like Andy and it made my heart wish to see him again. His kindness and love will be missed greatly. Rest in peace friend.

  16. I got to talk to Andy Jr. at Tribeca Kitchen today. He was telling me about the changes he is making to make it easier to social distance, to take care of his employees. He talked about bringing the diner back to the community, how we will always feel his father’s presence. He is so excited to re-open. Andy Sr. raised a great man. I am sure he us proud.

  17. Rename it Andy’s TriBeCa Kitchen so everyone calls it Andy’s.

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