He is a native of Mykonos. He was born in the house of the Koutsoukos family, which was very close to the windmills and Little Venice. A midwife helped with his birth, like most babies back then. The first few years of his life were spent playing in the large sandlot by the windmills together with his friends. “Our life there was free. The whole neighborhood gathered in Alefkandra, while we played football at the Mills. Our school was at Tria Pigadia, very close to my house. We went morning and afternoon, but we liked it. My father was a fisherman. As soon as he returned from fishing, my mother would give me basket of fish to take to my grandmother. In fact, in Mykonos, we used to call grandmother “lala”, he says with a smile. At the age of 8-10, he would start to see the first cruise ships landing American tourists on the island. “At that time, Mykonos attracted tourism because of Delos. The truth is that Delos made Mykonos famous. On the other hand, we could not realize the potential that the island would have in the coming years. Something that, little by little, we realized when, for example, in 1967 Thodoris Fouskis opened the first large restaurant in Alefkandra with tables outside. Then celebrities started to come, like Anna Veltsou, but also people who occupied the domestic media of the time, like Zachos Xatzifotiou. Eleni Boni, the first Mykonian guide who knew English, brought tourists to this restaurant”, he describes.
The unknown story with Petros the Pelican
One of the first Greek politicians who loved and supported the island was Konstantinos Mitsotakis. “Mitsotakis used to come to Mykonos before 1960. It has been written that the romance between him and Marika Mitsotaki developed there, that their relationship was sealed there. During his prime ministership, important development projects were carried out on the island”, he says honestly. Since he mentioned the name of Konstantinos Mitsotakis, our conversation turns to another politician, Konstantinos Karamanlis, whose bust was placed in 2006 in the small round square at the junction of Vrysi with Drafaki. “Yes, Konstantinos Karamanlis was also a frequent visitor of Mykonos. Theodoros Charitopoulos is also from Mykonos, who was the housekeeper of Karamanlis and one of his most trusted people. What many may not know is that Theodoros’ father, Antonis Charitopoulos was the one who had found Petros the Pelican in 1955 in Merchia and brought him to Chora. He was the father of Petros, whom he cared for with special affection. Antonis’ nickname was “Reklamas”, as he boasted that he was one of the best fishermen”, he reveals. The reputation of Mykonos has skyrocketed since 1970, with the result that every year tourism grows at a rapid pace. “The one I remember very often coming to Mykonos and visiting Psarou was Theodoros Nikolaidis, the publisher of the newspaper “Fos ton Spor”. He was also the first one to build a villa in Mykonos, in the area of Ornos, in 1967”.
“The one I remember very often coming to Mykonos was Theodoros Nikolaidis, the publisher of the newspaper “Fos ton Spor”. He was also the first one to build a villa in Mykonos, in the area of Ornos, in 1967”.
Pierro’s and the secret of its success
In 1972, Dimitris Koutsoukos’ brother, Andreas, together with the painter Piero Aversa, opened a bar that was to play a decisive role in the night life of Mykonos. This was the famous Pierro’s. “In the first year, I also worked there. At first it was not exactly a bar. It was a place that had soft music, where you went to relax, grab a bite of the Italian delicacies and have a drink. Essentially, Pierro’s was the “warm up” for Mykonos’ night life. Piero Aversa himself played a big role in the success of the particular establishment, as well as the acquaintances he had with the first-class gay crowd in Greece and abroad. Also excellent in public relations was Margot, my brother Andreas’ wife. She was the soul of Pierro’s, as she had a close friendship with the gay crowd and organized all the events that had become a must, such as the White Nights, as well as Miss Gay”. Two years after the establishment was created, Aversa decides to leave Pierro’s. “I think he did not agree with my brother who wanted to change the concept and make it purely a bar. In any case, the result showed that Pierro’s was loved and wrote its own history in the night life of Mykonos”, he explains. Pierro’s was frequented by figures of the Greek, but also of the international jet set of the time. However, as Dimitris Koutsoukos himself will say, there were many times when they were not perceived. “You did not see them. They were in the crowd and partied almost incognito. The one I remember most often in Mykonos was the industrialist Dimitris Karellas who had the Aegean textile industry. He had a strong personality. I remember he used to come to Pierro’s very often and watch the drag shows that Carlos organized. He also liked to go to secluded beaches with his boat. He was a fine bon viveur of the time”.
“I worked in my father-in- law’s deli meat factory. It was the first deli meat factory in San Francisco. Over time I became a production foreman and learned the business”
Love immigrant in San Francisco
In 1978, he decided to go to San Francisco. That summer, he had met an American tourist at Mykonos Bar. Dimitris Koutsoukos and his friends would go there in the summers and teach the tourist girls to dance the hasapiko. And of course, they flirted with them… “Two months after we met I went to America to visit her and get to know her better. The Visa I had was only open for three months, but I finally decided to stay. The summer love at Mykonos Bar changed everything, since he left the island permanently in 1978 for San Francisco, where he made a family and lived there for 37 whole years. “I worked in my father-in- law’s deli meat factory. It was the first deli meat factory in San Francisco. Over time I became a production foreman and learned the business”, he adds. From his marriage he has two children and four grandchildren. “Both my children and grandchildren still live in the United States. If you exclude the last 15 difficult months with the coronavirus, I try to go to America every year to see them”, he says with emotion. In 2015, when he returned permanently to Mykonos, he tries in every way to do the best for his island. “Mykonos is not only beautiful in summer, but also in winter. The highlight of winter is the mornings in Mykonos where we will go down for coffee at the cafe of Bakogia in Gialos and we will buy vegetables, but also fish from the panga (note: this is what the people of Mykonos call the marble counters where the fishermen place the fish). Especially this year with the quarantine, I was quite occupied with my house, my garden, picking wild greens, but also facebook.
“Mykonos is not only beautiful in summer, but also in winter. The highlight of winter is the mornings in Mykonos where we will go down for coffee at the cafe of Bakogia in Gialos”
A strong group on facebook
The private group on facebook entitled “Old Mykonos”, of which Dimitris Koutsoukos is the administrator, has more than 17 thousand members, while many photos of the “old” Mykonos of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are published by the group. It is a real photographic treasure, with powerful images of the past. “My own involvement in this facebook group started in 2010, when I was still living in San Francisco. At some point, I saw a guy on facebook, Thodoris Kousathanas, had put some photos in the Old Mykonos group and that is how I started uploading photos to the group. Thodoris started it, but at some point he left and I took over. Now the group has grown a lot, and the photographic material that exists is rare and unique. What I want to clarify is that this group has been created purely to upload photos of old Mykonos and for no other purpose. That is why when I see things being uploaded and comments that have a commercial purpose, I delete them immediately”. Which is the photo that has received the most likes so far? “There are many, but the first one that comes to mind is a photo that was taken around 1937 from Kamnaki and you can see the Mills, the sandy beach and Gialos. This was a fantastic photo. But there are still many rare photos that I am processing and I am going to publish them soon”.