John Giannaris, beloved husband of Anna Giannaris, father of George Giannaris, father-in-law of Maria Giannaris and grandfather of Yianni and Savvas Giannaris, passed away on May 12, 2023. John was 86 years old.
Born in 1937, he was the youngest and last surviving sibling of five brothers and sisters, Leonidas, Loula, Nikos and Maria.
John was a hard-working immigrant with humble beginnings. A full-time banquet waiter at the Plaza Hotel in New York, he began his career in the restaurant industry while simultaneously painting apartments and working in his brother-in-law’s donut shop. After partnering with Anna’s first cousin Gus Hartofelis in 1976, they purchased Brown’s Cabins in East Marion, N.Y. While Gus tended to the needs of the cottages, John focused all of his attention on the little snack bar on the property, which became an iconic landmark restaurant on the North Fork, The Hellenic Snack Bar.
Helen of Troy had a face that could launch a thousand ships; John had a smile that made thousands of customers instant friends. He was genuine and cared more for others than for himself. At 79, begrudgingly cutting his work hours back to 40 per week, he would often explain to his customers that he was “now working part-time.” John was a humble man and did not seek personal attention; however, he could not avoid the spotlight of his most famous association. His lemonade recipe is legendary and a reflection of who he was: the right proportion of simple quality ingredients, no cut corners and an unwavering commitment to his family, friends and customers.
Family and friends gathered May 15 at Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport. A funeral Mass was held May 16 at Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church of Mattituck, with Father Andrew D. Cadieux officiating. Burial followed at Sterling Cemetery in Greenport.
Memorial donations may be made to Church of the Harvest Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1086, Riverhead, NY 11907.
This is a paid notice.