Dear Bistango Family,
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of John Ghoukassian, founder and owner of Bistango/Bayside, and beloved father to Marc & Karyn and husband to Diana. We will have a celebration of life for John and would love to collect your stories on how John impacted your life. Please click the link below and submit your thoughts, message or upload your video message about John.
John was a man of few words, and perhaps didn't say much to you, but when he spoke his words weighed a lot. He was known as the businessman, the founder, the "big boss", and the owner of Bistango, a quiet and humble man who was never interested in having the attention and focus on him. His hard work was not driven by a need for recognition. He was a hard-working person who truly enjoyed what he was doing and was a perfectionist at that. He created a beautiful and unique restaurant and his creation and hard work provided a place for families to flourish throughout the years.
As a family, we knew our dad, and husband to Diana, on a different level. We were extremely close to each other as we worked and lived together. Though he was a serious person at work, he had a special sense of humor. John had so much wisdom. He knew how to handle every situation wisely and with a sense of calm that was at times perplexing amidst the heaviness of the situation! He was just always so "cool" and collected. He was the "Rock" in our family and at work. You could always count on him and turn to him for advice on how to handle any situation. John always made us feel safe. We adored him, respected him, and looked up to him. He was always kind and gracious, even when people were undeserving of his kindness. However, he took his business very seriously and if anyone messed with his creation then he took it upon himself to defend his "baby". When you respected John and his business, you were sure to earn his respect no matter what and he would go out of his way to help you. His work ethics, creativity, and passion for this industry were unrivaled. He was a true leader in the industry, always ahead of the game, whether it was in his restaurants in Iran, Los Angeles or Orange County. He was considered by many to be a legend, even an icon in the industry. John was an avid lover and supporter of the Arts and Live Entertainment. Art was always a necessity for him. He was a lover of fine cuisine and fine wines where he had brought renowned Jonathan Waxman, a pioneer in California Cuisine, as a consultant to mold our menus and cuisine in the early nineties. His quest for being the best of the best in the world of cuisine might have not been known to you, but he always wanted to improve ourselves. He truly loved what he was doing and he sacrificed everything for Bistango as we traversed several economic recessions throughout the decades as well as two global pandemic shutdowns. He was a selfless man. He looked at the big picture and very often he put himself last instead of first. There wasn't anything he was not willing to do for Bistango's survival and when things got tough, instead of throwing in the towel and giving up, he fought even harder. He had so much strength and never let any obstacle stop him. Not at work, not at home. We are so proud of our dad.
Every wall, every table, every corner, every inch of Bistango is marked by his dedication, sacrifice, and hard work. There is much history and story-telling all over the restaurant. It will be extremely difficult for us to be there without our dad, but we know he will be watching over all of us and keeping us in line! We hope you will join us in ensuring John's legacy continues.
Dad, we hope you will be proud of us!
With very heavy hearts,
Diana, Marc and Karyn Ghoukassian