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.

 

 

71 Comments

  1. This is so heartbreaking. Andy was the nicest, warmest person and always was so nice to our kids even though they made a huge mess in the restaurant.

    This sucks

  2. Losing Andy’s sense of humor, kindness, and smiling face will leave a large hole in our community. May he Rest In Peace.

  3. Andy was a great, loving presence in our neighborhood. Always made us feel welcome. Tribeca’s Kitchen was a great gathering spot on Sundays, full of laughter and children and families. And that was because of Andy. We will miss his smile, his joyous nature. Condolences to his family.

  4. My heart goes out to his family and to his wonderful and kind staff. Andy was always so incredibly gracious to my family. My kids would always say let’s go see Andy when we would be deciding where to go for lunch. You will be so so missed.

  5. We are heartbroken. When we first heard that he had passed, we didn’t want to believe it. We hoped it was a mistake. For us, Andy was a grounding force. When the news of the day felt overwhelming, Andy was there with his bright, warm smile, and a hearty welcome, and the trickle-down effect of his kindness and leadership was expressed by his lovely staff. On days when we were just passing by, Andy would step out and ask us how we were doing, and he’d share his thoughts about what was on his mind. We’d talk about changes that were taking place in the neighborhood…

    If anyone in Andy’s family is reading this, please know that he made our days brighter. We respected Andy for his generosity, and kindness, and his ability to keep on keepin’ on, even as it’s become increasingly difficult for independent restaurants to survive in Manhattan. We will not forget him, and the neighborhood will never feel the same without Andy. Our hearts are with you.

  6. God has just pulled up one of the greatest patriots our country has been honored to have. I am heart broken but truly privileged to have such an honorable man as a friend. His footprint is indelible and Andy has touched so many lives with his kindness – including the First Responder community which he supported strongly. His beautiful family is a testament to his greatness, and I will truly miss this great man. So many fond memories in Gee Whiz and the Tribeca Kitchen, thanks to Andy’s compassion and friendship. God bless you, my friend, and your beautiful memory. Andy, you are a true giant.

  7. Andy was a good man. He always thought of others. He always greeted us in his restaurant and treated us like family. Sorry to learn of his passing. May God great him in heaven with loving arms.

  8. I cannot believe this. He was truly a wonderful man, always at the door welcoming us in, always a smile on his face. Anytime we went in he came to our table, asked my husband and I how our family was and always told us about his family who he loved dearly. Was so happy when the new baby was born. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest condolences to his entire family.

  9. i am crushed. he was genuinely one of the most wonderful people that ever walked this earth

    • Sending deepest condolences to the family for the loss of their beloved father, grandfather and husband. May his memory be a blessing to you always.

  10. I literally cried as I created this video tribute yesterday…you never think it will touch someone you care about. Andy was so much more than a client…we always greeted each other with a hearty “Hello, My Friend!” and a double cheek kiss….his smile was infectious and he was incredibly kind-earted. He will be missed terribly by so many. #STAYHOME

  11. I am just gutted. This is a catastrophic loss. Andy was such a warm, generous, loving, optimistic man. He stood for everything our city and the world needs more of.

    He would always let me work on the third level so I could write without distractions and then magically – a black and white cookie would arrive on the house.

    We would sit and talk about his family here and in Greece and how he would light up at the thought of them all. I couldn’t walk past the restaurant without tapping on the glass to wave and say hi. He would give you that big smile and wave and you would carry his good energy with you the rest of the day.

    I can’t imagine this neighborhood without him.

    I can’t imagine the grief his family and friends are going through.

    I can think of no better way to remember a man than to say – he made your day better. He made your community better.

    To his family – you have my deepest condolences. My heart is with you and just know that so many of us loved him and cherished him and his gentle, kind spirit. He made us all love living in New York a little more and he comforted us with his company as much as his food and lifted our spirits with his warm presence. Andy made you feel like family – as if he was everyone’s favorite uncle.

    Andy, oh man Andy we will miss you so much. Travel easy my friend. Next time we meet, the black and white’s on me.

    Adio Andy.

  12. On the first day Andy opened we walked in and our friendships were sealed. We shared our fates and fortunes and love for all these years with Andy. This summer we were to visit an ancient monastery in greece together,it was our dream,it was all planned.
    This hole in my life and my heart will never be filled. Yes he will be forever fishing, hope is always bountiful. With love to his family and staff.

  13. This is heartbraking news. Andy was a fixture of the community and a visible symbol of a community within a community. His warmth and kindness and smile is what Caroline and our boys and I will remember. Condolences to the extended family.

  14. There are no words. Andy is truly irreplaceable person – he always made everything better with his big heart and smile. He will be missed. Love and condolences to the family.

  15. I do not live in NY but my condolences to his family and all the other people who cherished him may his kind acts and love for all go before him may he Rest In Peace

  16. Rest in Peace dear Andy. Your warm smile and enthusiastic generosity towards the children and families of Tribeca and BPC will never be forgotten. From Day One you were always ready to help out. God Bless you and your family. You will be greatly missed.

  17. this news is so shocking. Our hearts go out to Andy’s family in this very trying time, we send our heartfelt condolences. We have looked forward to Andy’s smile for years when visiting Tribeca’s Kitchen. We traded fishing stories and stories of Greece and Hawaii. We will FOREVER remember his sincerity, his grace, his smile, warmth, honesty and expertise. I feel as though I just lost a dear friend. May you always have a big fish on the line, calm seas and sunny days. We will miss you probably more than you know, – you cared about each of your customers so dearly, and you treated us like your own family.
    Jan L. Shane Y.

  18. What a incredible loss for our community! Andy, you watched my children grow! You treated everyone with so much love and respect! I can’t believe we were talking about this virus 2 weeks ago. I am incredibly sad and I will miss you greeting me every time I came to Tribeca’s Kitchen! Andy, you will be forever missed. To your family, you will be in my prayers and I’m so incredibly sorry for you loss! We lost an amazing human!

  19. Heartbroken beyond words. We started getting the news about Andy yesterday and nobody wanted to believe it. A living smile is the only way I can describe Andy. We live literally across the street and were always in and out. He’s not just a business, he’s a friend and “family.” There are just no way to describe the hole in this entire community without him being a part of our lives. Our deepest love and condolences to his family. God Bless HIm Forever.

  20. We’re heartbroken. From the early 80s when we lived in BPC and I discovered Gee Whiz (there’s a real diner in Tribeca!), to the morning the neighborhood got power back after Sandy and Gee Whiz was open and serving, to 2 weeks ago when we had dinner at Tribeca’s Kitchen right before the closures, Andy’s restaurants have been our go-to place.

    He was so generous and welcoming over the years to our family. When my son was in high school and had an Economics assignment to interview a small business owner Andy spent more than 2 hours with him, much longer than expected, explaining both the rewards and difficulties of operating a restaurant.

    Rest in peace Andy. To Andy’s family, I pray that your happy memories provide you some peace in this difficult time.

  21. I couldn’t bring myself to read the article. Heartbroken

  22. The best of the best- Andy- a smile – a laugh-a joyful presence. He gave because it was the right thing to do, no questions asked. My condolences to his family and to all us is who will miss this blessed being.

  23. Our family was among the many who knew and loved Andy from the neighborhood — first as the welcome, warm face of Gee Whiz, and then at Tribeca Kitchen, where he brought many of the familiar waiters and waitresses with him, because they were “family.” We always joked about each others’ sons — he called mine Big Trouble and Little Trouble and I called his Legal Eagle once he went to law school — and our affection for one another was apparent without saying a word. When I was working on a TV show, and we needed a diner location, there was no question about going to Andy, and his saying of course, whatever you need, generosity was his natural instinct. And when we were shooting, and there was a family of tourists from Sweden who were curiously watching, he asked if we could put the two Swedish kids in the scene as background because he knew it would be a memorable moment for them. Their thrill was his thrill. God, it’s upsetting to hear this news. This hits home, literally.

  24. I am so profoundly sad. Andy was a treasure. I loved talking about Crete with him. His restaurant captured that deep sense of generosity and welcoming everyone like family.

  25. While we no longer live in Tribeca we remember Andy and the wonderful Gee Whiz. We are very saddened to see this and wish his family our condolences and best wishes.

  26. Mr. Koutsoudakis worked so very hard; and he gave so much to the neighborhood, including the children and parents of P.S. 234; and, after 9/11, he fed so many First Responders and Ground Zero workers for free at Gee Whiz. How regrettable that he was stressed out by those who fought his attempt to have outdoor tables at Tribeca’s Kitchen, but he never lost his cheer. Mr. Koutsoudakis was part of the Soul of Tribeca; and he will always be remembered. Our condolences to his family.

  27. Wow this is really sad. Prayers for the family.

  28. Shocking! Shocking news!!! We just walked to the restaurant to see how Andy and his staff were doing. The doors were shut. Andy loved his customers. It’s such a joy to watch him greeting his customers. We always felt like going home. Andy’s smiles and his voice, “Happy Friday!”, will be forever missed.

  29. My nine year old son inadvertently saw this news about our dear friend Andy this morning. He said in a sullen voice, this is the nice man from the diner, the one who gave me a free chocolate chip cookie the last time we went for lunch in late February a few weeks ago.

    Andy made an indelible impression on our whole family. His generosity was boundless. He was happy to see you, to share a giggle or a funny story. The happy man who knew us well even though we didn’t see him in a while. The man with a warm smile. The person who has seen us through all of our family stages. The friend who chatted about everything and nothing. He wasn’t just a proprietor of a small business and was much more than a fixture at Tribeca’s Kitchen. Andy personified all good things about our small town, our neighborhood, our Tribeca.

    We will miss you dearly my friend. Peace be with you. Our prayers and blessings to your family.

  30. Our heart goes out to Andy’s family. We have known him since our daughters attended PS 234 back in the ‘90’s and we’d dine at Gee Whiz. When we first walked into Tribeca’s Kitchen, Andy remembered us and greeted us like long lost relatives and that feeling of welcomeness was felt each time we entered. We happened to have had lunch on the last day Tribeca’s Kitchen was open. We wondered where Andy was…missed his smiling face and cheery greeting and chat…. had no clue by the evening it would be closed. Later that day, we found it was closed by a delivery person from another local restaurant. Andy will be missed by so many. May his family remain healthy and strong and may his memory be a blessing.

  31. This is heartbreaking. Andy was a warm and generous man. It was less than a month ago that he surprised my daughter with a piece of her favorite red velvet cake “on the house”. When I think of him, I see his wonderful smiling face.

  32. A real body-blow to the neighborhood. What a terrible loss to the community. Andy was truly a Tribecan who epitomized what is good about this area.

  33. My heart is so heavy. I can’t stop crying. Andy fed me and my husband in the 90s at gee whiz when my father in law was dying and we didn’t have the energy to cook. Years later, he greeted (and seated) us and our 2 daughters with the broadest smile and and most open heart after every downtown soccer and little league game. We are grieving his loss deeply. He and his partner Pete felt like family, always asking about us our children. Tribeca and the world will not be the same without him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this excruciatingly painful time.

  34. What horrible news. Always present, and so friendly. Always greeted me and my son when we came in for a meal, or when passing by and see him through the window with a friendly wave. SCREW YOU Covid 19!.

  35. Andy and his family are execellant examples of what it means to be part of a neighborhood! Myself, along with my immediate and extended family are so sorry for your loss. Your restaurant has been our dining room many times for many meals. Andy – your kindness, thoughtfulness and your beautiful smile will be missed! May the heavenly seas bring you eternal happiness. Thank you for taking care of us all of these years!

  36. How sad to read these heartwarming tributes to this lovely man who touched so many people with his warmth and generosity. So many think Tribeca is just this “hotsy-totsy” exclusive/wealthy/hedge fund/one per center area and then you realize it is a community consisting of people that care about each other, particularly in these perilous and strange times we are now living through.

  37. Andy,

    I am so saddened to hear of your passing. You were one of my great friends for over 30 years, I will miss you so very much. You were a pillar of the community, heaven has gained a true angel. My condolences go out to your family may God grant them all the comfort during this time. Thank you for everything, things will not be the same without you!! Adio :(

  38. andy you will be missed I only knew you for a few years but what a great man generous kind funny love to talk about fishing going to miss him

  39. May his memory be eternal.

  40. To Andy’s family,

    Andy was never seen without his welcoming smile. He will be missed by so many who had the honor of knowing such a generous and lovely man. Andy was part of what made Tribeca what it is. He will not be forgotten.

  41. I lost, as many others in the neighborhood as well as those even had been in Gee Whiz and/or Tribeca Kitchen once or many times. Andy is once of the best human being I know. His restaurant name not only always on my teams’ jersey but his kindest face will always be in our hearts.

    Too much to bear…

    Miss you!! May God bless his family!

  42. Dear beloved and cherished community,

    God bless you all for the amazing words written and felt for my daddy. He was the most amazing man and I am so proud of him. I want you all to know that my dad loved this community with all his heart, and he loved serving all of you for decades. I promise you his legacy will live on, and I hope you continue to honor him by being kind to one another, putting the little things behind, embracing our differences, and just lending a helping hand whenever possible. Tribeca’s Kitchen will live on, although with a massive hole, but so long as you do the above, he will be remembered and the community will be stronger, more united, and better for years to come because of his leadership and legacy. I personally promise to do everything in my power to always have a place for strollers in the back, always help the community little leagues and arts and youth centers, the police and fire departments, health care and city workers who all keep this city alive and strong and safe, and for the loving people who have felt my dad’s love and kindness during his time here. The only sense I can make of all of this is that humanity has created hell on earth with all the greed, hatred, opposition of opinions, differences, and so many more evil things. God has allowed this hell we’re in to persist so that we can realize that no country, no person, no religion, nothing is immune from the powers above, and that we all need to pause – involuntarily for now – to realize what really matters. He took my dad because he was just simply too good for this earth.l and belongs in heaven with God. He’s gone fishing and won’t be back here, but he and my mother raised me well and I will make him prouder than he has ever been.

    God be with us all. Please take some time to think about these things and let all of us be better people to each other when we come out of this.

    With sincere love and sadness,

    Andy Jr.

  43. Heartfelt sympathy to family. We knew Andy since Gee Whiz opened.
    He sure was the pioneer of Tribeca.
    Rest In Peace.

  44. I am so saddened by the news of Andy’s passing. He was always the nicest gentleman and would come out to pet my pups. We will miss him dearly. Much love to his family and friends.❤️😞

  45. So so sad to hear of Andy’s passing. I would look forward to my near daily after school visit, with my co-teacher, to Gee Whiz for tea. Andy would always tease us that “we had to keep our voice strong and healthy to teach the little ones!” and would rarely charge us for the two cups of tea. He’d leave the honey jar without a lid on the counter for us. It was little generous acts like this that really made him stand out as a comforting presence in the community. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.

  46. Such sad news. Andy was a wonderful person, always donating to school functions, Always sponsored local sports teams, and never said no to anything for the neighborhood. He was a genuine person, with a real heart. Always friendly and giving, a presence for years and so critical to what Tribeca was and is today. How sad to hear of this. Such a terrible loss. Our prayers of strength go out to his family.

  47. My heart aches at this news. I worked across the street from Gee Whiz for 19 years and patronized it regularly. Andy lives on as part of those fond memories.

  48. May he rest in peace.
    He was a true staple in the neighborhood I grew up above Gee Whiz and every time I went to eat he would always greet our family with a big smile.
    He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  49. I work across the street from Tribeca’s Kitchen, had lunch there twice a week. Andy was usually there, greeting us with a big hello. During Passover a few years ago, Andy saw that I ordered matzah instead of toast, and when we were leaving, he gave us kosher for Passover pastries that his friend made.
    If there is a Greek word for mensch, that was Andy.

  50. This breaks my heart. We loved Andy. He watched my children grow up. He will he dearly missed. RIP Andy!!

Comment: