At the end of January, Domenic Andreone, known to everyone as Chef Andre of Andre’s Italian Restaurant, passed away at the age of 99, nine months shy of his 100th birthday, according to his family.
“It is a truly sad day for us here at Andre’s. Today our beloved Mr. Andre passed away. He was an incredible man who lived an extraordinary life we mourn his passing and we celebrate his life,” wrote the family and staff in a message announcing his passing last month.
We spoke with Chef Andre’s great niece, Stephanie Gagliarducci, now one of the owners and general manager of Andre’s Restaurant, who told us he’d been active in the restaurant even in his nineties.
“Andre’s has always been knows as an affordable restaurant with really good home made authentic food,” Gagliarducci told the Buzz. “It’s nostalgic for so many people. They came with their families over the years. We still serve family-style and we are doing our best to keep it affordable, with generous portions. We are lucky to have great employees, some have been working for 20 years, and our goal is to keep Chef Andre’s legacy alive.”
Gagliarducci took over in 2007 from her father, who served as manager of the Town and Country location since shortly after it was opened in 1963. She practically grew up in the restaurant. Her parents met in the restaurant when her mom was a waitress. The restaurant remains very much a family business, even today, and there are several other family members working there. Gagliarducci now shares ownership with one of Andre’s sons, a heart surgeon who lives in San Diego, and Simon Alverez, longtime head chef.
Andre’s has weathered some big challenges in the past few years. In 2018, developers notified the restaurant they would not renew the lease…and then came the pandemic. But Andre’s is still going strong, thanks to loyal customers and the ability to operate a strong take-out business.
Gargliaducci has heard the developers are planning to start construction in July, but she has heard that before as the project as been slowly working its way through the city approval process. She is hoping there will be space for Andre’s in the new project. The owners did reduce the rent during COVID, which also helped, but Gargliaducci said she hasn’t received an official offer of a new space, and the restaurant’s lease is up at the end of this month. As a result, she’s looking for interim space in case they have to move during construction.
In the meantime, Andre’s is still open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. If you haven’t been there, Andre’s is known for its spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna, and Italian salad dressing (which they also sell), as well as its sauces. If you decide to order and are willing to pick up, consider calling direct instead of using any online apps.
The following obituary was published online:
September 5, 1922 – January 24, 2022 Domenic Giovanni Andreone (Andre)
A remarkable life well-lived
Born Brusasco, Italy (TO) September 5, 1922
Died Los Angeles, CA January 24, 2022 at 99 years, 4 months and 19 days young.
Born to Pietro and Francesca (Omenga) Andreone with older siblings Pinota, Giovanni and Talin. Blessed with an adventurous and curious spirit, he always spoke of looking out the window of his room in Brusasco and wondering what was on the other side of the Piedmontese hills. He began his culinary adventure in Genova under the tutelage of his Uncle Piovano. When WWII broke out, he was conscripted into the Italian army as a cook for a general. The officer suggested he may do better on “the other side.” He joined the VII Divisione Autonoma Monferrato dei Partigiani (Italian underground). He and his “band of brothers” fought a guerilla war against the Germans. Andre and his closest friend were seriously wounded by the same bullet on the streets of Brusasco.
After the war, he continued his culinary career: first in Genova, then Switzerland and finally in Paris. He became a chef for the Italian cruise line (again, through Zio Piovano). On a trip to New York City, Andre conveniently “forgot” to reboard the ship, thus beginning his life in America. He attended the wedding of his cousin Peter Gallina in Springfield, MA where he met Angiolina Gagliarducci who would become his wife. He opened Andre’s of Great Neck and remained in Long Island until 1958 when he sold his share of the business to his partner Murry Krulich. Andre, Angie and son Peter took off across country, ending up in Los Angeles. A friend, Angelo Patrone, suggested he could do well in the LA restaurant scene. He met Don Medica who was working at the Desilu Studio’s commissary, and they opened Andre’s of Beverly Hills on April 1, 1959. Soon thereafter, Andre’s of Town and Country, Andre’s of Wilshire Terrace and Andre’s of Westchester followed. He was Chef of the year in 1982. He remained active in restaurant life well into his mid 90s. He was influential in the lives of many in the restaurant and business community. Andre was always willing to help someone out. Although he was a shrewd businessman, he had a very tender heart.
Andre was a world traveler, visiting six continents, but he most enjoyed spending his time in his two vacation homes in Kaslo, BC and Brusasco, Italy. He loved his home in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles and was a gracious host to many visitors from around the globe
He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, wife Angie, many in-laws and family members, and friends almost too numerous to count. He is survived by his son, Peter (Berit), grandsons Gian and Michael, and special long-time friend Carolyne Anderson and her family. We are grateful for the wonderful care he received over the last three years from Simon Ronquillo and William Villegas of CGLA.