Dimitrios "Jimmy" Minadakis, whose Southeast Baltimore seafood house was open 365 days a year, died of throat cancer Saturday at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. The Dundalk resident was 62.
Born on the Greek island of Karpathos, he attended schools there, then joined the Greek merchant marine. He jumped ship and settled in Baltimore in 1967.
His first business was the Chevrolet Inn, a Broening Highway bar and lunchroom named for the nearby General Motors plant.
For the past 29 years, he owned and operated Jimmy's Famous Seafood Restaurant in the 6500 block of Holabird Ave. He created many of the restaurant's recipes and mixed the seasonings for steamed crabs. He also supervised the restaurant's expansion beyond its original bar and dining room to include carryout and banquet rooms.
Family members said he often donated food platters to charities and community organizations, including hospitals, schools, churches, and police and fire departments.
"He had a heart of gold, and whenever the Greek church community needed anything, he responded positively and generously," said the Rev. Manuel Burdusi, pastor of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. "He had a love for America and worked hard at his business and built it up."
"He would deluge you with food," said his cousin, lawyer and Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos. "He was an extraordinarily kind and generous person of humble beginnings. He really appreciated the promise of this country. That promise became a reality through his hard work and honest dealings."
Colleagues recalled that he worked long hours and kept the restaurant open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Father Burdusi said the restaurant became a social center for the Greek community in Southeast Baltimore. "Many of our parishioners have had wedding and baptism receptions there," he said.
"He was exceptionally well known as a successful businessman," said Virginia Lambrow, a customer and friend. "His hard work and the good quality of food earned him a standing in the community."
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 520 S. Ponca St., where he was a member.
He is survived by his wife of 26 years, the former Foula Skevofilax, who worked alongside him at the restaurant.
In addition to his wife, survivors include three sons, John Minadakis, Nick Minadakis and Tony Minadakis, all of Baltimore; a daughter, Irene Minadakis of Karpathos; a brother, George Minadakis of Baltimore; and four other brothers and two sisters, all in Greece.