Friends, family, and acquaintances of beloved local grocer Konstantinos “Gus” Vardakastanis will mourn his loss in a hit-and-run collision last week with memorial service held tomorrow, Thursday, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco. Others have already congregated at his markets to honor him and express their grief.
Vardakastanis, the son of a grocer, emigrated from Greece to the United States with his family at age 16. In 1981, he founded Haight Street Market with his wife, Georgia, and later opened Noriega Produce. Most recently, Vardakastanis expanded with Gus’s Community Market in the Mission, opened with his sons Dimitri and Bobby, who operate the day-to-day business of all three markets.
On social media, admirers of Vardakastanis fondly recalled interactions with him. "Nice to see me!" the grocer would great some customers according to one fan.
“Gus was a true original, larger than life,” that patron continues. “He made you feel like you knew him even if you didn't really. It's difficult to make sense of such a senseless loss.”
The SFPD, meanwhile, has no updates to share on the case, in which the 57-year-old Vardakastanis was struck and killed by a speeding vehicle in the Bayview, where he was scouting produce from a wholesaler. According to the Chronicle, the city ShotSpotter system detected gunfire less than a mile away minutes before the collision, but SFPD officers have not confirmed a connection.