BAY RIDGE — Renowned Greek-American business entrepreneur and philanthropist Dimitrios (Jimmy) Kaloidis died at 86 in Greece on Sept. 16. Kaloidis is well-known in the Bay Ridge community as owner of the Bridgeview Diner at 9011 Third Avenue. And thanks to his generous contributions to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church at 8401 Ridge Blvd., it named its parochial school after him and his wife Georgia.
Kaloidis was born in Petrina, a small town in Greece located outside of Sparta in the region of Laconia in the southern Peloponnese, according to attorney Demetrius Kalamaras, who serves on the Holy Cross board and is a distant relative of Kaloidis.
Kaloidis eventually moved to Athens before emigrating to the United States with his wife Georgia in 1955 and ultimately developed a restaurant business while his wife studied technology and business administration. “He got involved in the food business which was the nature of a lot of Greeks at the time, following in the footsteps of their immigrant forefathers,” Kalamaras told this paper.
“He did very well and set a new standard in the diner business. His goal was to open up a diner named after every state in the union,” Kalamaras continued. “He had the Floridian Diner, the Nebraska Diner, the Dakota Diner, the Georgia Diner, so his model almost reinvented the modern diner.”
Kaloidis also purchased the Terrace on the Park banquet hall in Queens and ultimately settled in Brooklyn. Over the years, he financed numerous schools, hospitals, charitable foundations and ecclesiastical institutions in the United States, Greece and Cyprus.
“When he realized he had so many blessings with his financial success through his hard work, he was approached by George Orthodoxou, who was in the coffee business and served at Holy Cross,” said Kalamaras.
“When we had a need at Holy Cross, for our church and parochial center, Dimitrios and his lovely wife Georgia came and made a great donation to the community and out of respect and love the community named the school the Dimitrios and Georgia Kaloidis School,” he added.
Kaloidis continued to work hard and expand his businesses, eventually buying the Bridgeview Diner in Bay Ridge.
He was also the benefactor of the Incurable Illness Foundation which cares for mentally and physically challenged children nationwide and in Greece.
Internationally, he founded the five-star Mystras Grand Palace Resort & Spa hotel in Laconia. “More recently, his big endeavor was the just-completed resort outside the city of Sparta which he named Petrina after his beloved hometown,” said Kalamaras.
Kaloidis’ funeral will take place in Greece on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Metropolitan Church of Evangelistria in Sparta, and according to Kalamaras, he will be buried at the Petrina Resort in a special place that was established specifically for him.
He is survived by his wife Georgia, who has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the school that bears his name at 8502 Ridge Blvd.
There will also be a memorial service for Kaloidis at the school on Friday, Sept. 20.