TARPON SPRINGS — Just a few weeks after Tarpon Springs philanthropist Carol Helen Ellis Martin died April 7 at the age of 76, the city lost another icon. Andreas “Andy” Salivaras, owner of the popular Mykonos Greek restaurant on the Sponge Docks, died on May 18 at the age of 80.

Salivaras, who owned several businesses on the docks since opening Mykonos on Dodecanese Boulevard in 1992, was known for his larger-than-life personality and his passion for his adopted hometown, often appearing at City Commission meetings to voice his thoughts on how to improve the historic tourist district where he worked for decades, even over the past years as he battled health issues related to a fall.

“It is with great sadness that we have lost our father, our patriarch, our culinary genius and a giant of a man Andreas Salivaras,” read a May 18 Mykonos Facebook post. “‘Papou’ passed away peacefully today at the age of 80. Our hearts are broken and will never be the same but we will carry on his legacy and honor him all the days. Thank you for loving him like you did!”

Two days later, the post had more than 850 reactions and 400 comments.

“Such a loss for our city,” former City Commission candidate Susan Hales wrote. “My sympathies go out to his family. He was a very kind man and always made time to greet and speak to my husband and me when we dined at Mykonos. He will be greatly missed.”

A day after his death, the Salivaras family posted a notice stating Mykonos and its sister restaurant across the street, Dimitri’s on the Water, would be closed for one week “to allow our family and staff to grieve and remember what a great person he was,” noting the eateries would reopen on May 28.

“Prayers to your family. Andreas was a loyal friend and an icon on the Sponge Docks,” former City Commissioner Rea Sieber, who owns a wine shop on the docks, replied to the May 19 post. “I will miss him very much. Rest In Peace, my friend.”

Days later, Sieber said she was still grieving the loss of a man she said had become a close friend over the years, united by their desire to improve the docks.

“No matter how bad it was for him, he showed up,” Sieber said by phone May 20. “He had become more tired and weaker after his fall, but he was always so passionate about the Sponge Docks and being there for the merchants. I saw him a few weeks ago and he was weaker, but he told us to keep fighting for the Sponge Docks, and we will. I know I will.”

According to his obituary notice, a viewing for Salivaras was scheduled to be held Friday, May 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, with his funeral scheduled for Saturday, May 22, at 10 a.m. at the church, followed by his internment at Cycadia Cemetery. The Salivaras family suggested in lieu of flowers people consider donating to the Tarpon Springs High School band, the school’s Jacobson Culinary Arts Institute, the Tarpon Springs Historical Society or to St. Nicholas Cathedral Youth Ministry.