COVID-19 has devastated New York City's restaurant and nightlife industry
COVID-19 has devastated New York City's restaurant and nightlife industry. Unfortunately, many of these businesses may shutter forever, and the road to recovery for others will be challenging. We will always remember those haunts we lose, and we will cherish those that survive. As a collective hospitality community, we will persevere.
These amazing establishments take on a life of their own, but it is the people behind these businesses who truly bring them to life. This past week, our industry lost at least two precious lives due to COVID-19, which we were informed of. Chef Floyd Cardoz and Andreas "Andy" Koutsoudakis breathed life into New York City's restaurant community and they will be dearly missed.
First, renowned Chef Floyd Cardoz died of the coronavirus pandemic. Chef was beloved by so many who were fortunate enough to know him, and he inspired so many more through his love for cooking. The week, The New York Times wrote,
"Mr. Cardoz was the first chef born and raised in India to lead an influential New York City kitchen, at Tabla, which he and the restaurateur Danny Meyer opened in the Flatiron district of Manhattan in 1998. Soon after, Ruth Reichl of The New York Times gave Mr. Cardoz's cooking a rapturous review." Read more.
Later in the week, we lost, Andreas "Andy" Koutsoudakis Sr. Mr. Koutsoudakis arrived New York from his native Greece at 14 years old with the only clothes on his back. By 24, he flew through the ranks at every diner he worked. He then married Vanna and they had one son - Andreas Koutsoudakis Jr. In 1989, just 14 years after coming to NY without knowing a word of English, Andy opened his first restaurant, Gee Whiz Diner, which survived 9/11 while serving the community at Ground Zero. Although still open today, Andy sold the diner in 2015 after he opened Tribeca's Kitchen at 200 Church Street, where he has worked tirelessly to serve Tribeca since. On March 12, 2020, Andy became ill from COVID-19 and on March 21st was rushed to the hospital and placed in ICU on a mechanical ventilator. Sadly, he left us on March 27, 2020. He was an old-school New Yorker, with a deep commitment to family, love and community. He was a roll-up your sleeves type of worker. He sacrificed his life for his family, friends and restaurant guests. His loss leaves a massive whole in the hearts of many.
Mr. Cardoz and Mr. Koutsoudakis were New York City restaurant giants. The New York City Hospitality Alliance family sends love and strength to their families and all who knew and loved them. May their memory live on in our hearts and stomachs forever.