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John Ghoukassian leaves a legacy of art, music and gourmet cuisine – Orange County Register

Good food, great art, lively music, and a successful family business that he was able to pass on to his children. That was the realization of John Goucasian’s American dream.

The patriarch of the family that owns Bistango and Bayside died on March 15 at the age of 84. His family didn’t want to discuss the cause, except that it wasn’t COVID-19. He is survived by his wife, Diana Goukasian, his son, Mark Goukasian, and his daughter, Karin Goukasian. The memorial service will be private.Friends and customers are invited to leave a message in Bistango website.

Having lived in Irvine for the past 35 years, Ghoukassian has been a pioneer in improving luxury dining in Orange County. Throughout his career, he remained a leader in the local restaurant industry. He opened Bistango in Los Angeles in 1984 and moved to Irvine three years later. He founded Bayside in 1999 with Mark, a graduate of San Jose State University. Karin joined the family business after graduating from UCLA.

During the pandemic, Ghoukassian restaurants, with the exception of Chimera, when an estimated 17% of restaurants across the country were permanently closed. Closed in 2013 Because of the leasing dispute — more than just enduring, they prospered.

Bistango, Located on the ground floor of a 10-story office building, the atrium has always been known as the location of power lunches where millions of dollars were traded. Newport’s Bayside has a bar offering the best martini in live jazz and Orange County, and is frequently visited by a wide range of customers, from social sorcerers to families celebrating special occasions.

The Ghoukassian family said in a media release that both restaurants were built with a strong love for business and a gift for strong and quiet leadership.

“John was soft, but not always visible at work. He had so much wisdom. He made every situation wise and in a given situation. I knew how to deal with it with a calm feeling that was sometimes embarrassing in the weight.

“He was always very” cool “. He was the rock of our family and work. You can always count on him and rely on him for advice. John always reassured us. We worshiped, respected and respected him. He was always kind and kind. He took his business very seriously because it was his creation and “baby”. “

Goucasian, who passed by John G. before moving to the United States, learned trade from his father, who ran hotels, restaurants and night clubs in the mid-1960s, and ran three restaurants in Tehran, Iran. Was there.

“It was 1965” He told the register in 2013, “And I was in Europe. OK, you can say I was like a college dropout. I went back to help my dad and worked for him for a year. “

The job changed his life.

Inheriting his father’s entrepreneurial spirit, he opened Chattanooga, one of the most popular and famous restaurants of the time, and ran it in his home country for 17 years. He also founded the finest French restaurant Art Gallery Restaurant Lautrec there in the 1970s and a third restaurant called Mirabelle in downtown Tehran.

As he explained to the register, he sent his family to France in 1978, just before the Islamic Revolution. “I sell alcohol and a female customer was dressed, so how do you put it? Westerns — things got worse. How do you manage a 300-seat restaurant and there Make sure all the women are covering their faces? I had no control. “

He joined the family in France in 1982 and finally landed in Los Angeles in 1983. Having been in the antiques and arts business in front of the restaurant, it was not surprising that art played a major role in his decoration. He was proud to rotate Bistango’s extensive art display every three months.

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He also gave locals a gift of live entertainment at a time when many restaurant owners abandoned their music policy. “We are honored to be able to provide music to Bistango and Bayside for the past 25 years,” veteran jazz pianist Ron Kobayashi wrote in a social media message.

“John has consistently valued the music and art of both restaurants since the first day of opening. John is a true giant of the Southern California restaurant world and will be truly missed,” said Kobayashi. It was.

Ghoukassian is not only remembered as a successful businessman, but always with his warm hospitality provided to his employees and customers.

“That’s right. John is the sweetest and most humble,” Bistango hostess Alexa Thompson told the register in 2016. “When someone turns 21, he gives them a bottle of champagne and chocolate. John is here every day, including Sunday, and really cares about us.”

Staff photographer Cindy Yamanaka contributed to this story.

John Ghoukassian leaves a legacy of art, music and gourmet cuisine – Orange County Register Source link John Ghoukassian leaves a legacy of art, music and gourmet cuisine – Orange County Register

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