TARPON SPRINGS — Dozens of mourners filed into St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral on May 21 to pay their respects to Andreas “Andy” Salivaras, the owner of Mykonos Greek Restaurant who died May 18 at the age of 80.

The longtime restaurateur and Sponge Docks icon, who was known for his outgoing personality and his love of Tarpon Springs, was memorialized during a two-hour ceremony on Friday evening before being laid to rest the following morning at nearby Cycadia Cemetery.

During the service, the Rev. James Rousakis spoke about the immense impact Salivaras had on the Tarpon Springs community.

“He was a personality of Tarpon,” Rousakis said to the cathedral full of mourners, which included past and present Tarpon commissioners Rea Sieber, Costa Vatikiotis and Susan Kikta as well as Salivaras’ son and fellow restaurateur, Dimitri, and other family members. “Andreas touched many lives. He touched many lives, and I know he will not be forgotten. … The body degenerates, but the soul lives on, and that soul … will be praying unceasingly. And we remember him also in our prayers. He will never be forgotten. May his memory always be eternal.”

The words brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance, including several of Salivaras’ employees.

Ellie Moshos, who worked in Salivaras’ Fournos Bakery for three years, said being an employee meant being a part of a family.

“He was more like family than a boss, that’s for sure,” Moshos said from the back of the church’s grand cathedral, where she sat with fellow employees Mike “Flutie” Michaelides and Kathy Papavasiliou. “Whenever I would say I wasn’t having a good day he would say, ‘Eleteria, don’t worry! Everything will be fine tomorrow! Tomorrow is another day!’ and he was always right. Even if I made a mistake, it was not a problem. He was more than a boss. He was one of the only real people in Tarpon Springs.”

Sieber, a former city commissioner and fellow business owner on the docks who became close friends with Salivaras over the years, said the native of Greece would be remembered not only for what he accomplished in Tarpon Springs, but all over the world.

“What was amazing about him was the experience he had opening restaurants all over the country — Miami, Cleveland, Chicago. He accomplished so much,” she said. “He had a rich history of experience that he brought with him to Tarpon Springs.”

Sieber noted that even as Salivaras’ health declined after taking a hard fall outside his restaurant last year, he continued to fight for the betterment of the docks and its merchants.

“No matter how bad it was for him, he showed up,” Sieber said, noting Salivaras continued to attend city commission and merchants’ meetings despite his failing health. “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.”

During the May 25 Board of Commissioners meeting, Mayor Chris Alahouzos acknowledged Salivaras’ passing during his comments at the end of the night.

“I would like to extend my condolences to the Salivaras family for Andreas’ passing,” Alahouzos said.

“He was a big contributor to our community. May his memory be eternal.”