Kurt Kahofer of Wainscott, a maitre d’ at Herb McCarthy’s Bowden Square, which in its day was one of Southampton’s most popular restaurants, and a fixture for 35 years at the “21” Club in New York City, died at the age of 80 on Jan. 28 in Florida. His death was unexpected and the cause had not yet been determined, his family said this week.
Mr. Kahofer, who was born and raised in Pernitz, Austria, studied hotel and restaurant management in that country and was employed in various aspects of the business throughout his life. His profession dovetailed with his love of travel, and he worked at ski resorts in Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, in addition to Austria. Along the way he became fluent in five languages.
He immigrated to this country in 1959, the year he and his wife, Mina, were married. In New York City, he went to work for Restaurant Associates. The couple, who raised five children, lived in Southampton during the summers when he was employed at Herb McCarthy’s. Then, and until his retirement from “21,” when the family came to the East End, they lived in Maspeth.
Mr. Kahofer enjoyed oil painting, fishing, and playing musical instruments, including the violin, harmonica, squeeze box, and piano. Due to his European upbringing, he was a soccer fan and taught his children the sport. He later learned to enjoy football and became a Jets fan. Mr. Kahofer was also said to be handy and to love the upkeep of his house and grounds.
In addition to his wife of 54 years, Mr. Kahofer is survived by his five children: Lisa Cory of Wainscott, Kurt Eric Kahofer of Southampton, Heidi Varucene of Water Mill, Amy Dalsimer of Moretown, Vt., and Karl Kahofer of New York. Five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren also survive, as does a brother, Karl Kahofer, who lives in London. Another brother, Willbad Kaholfer, died before him.
A celebration of Mr. Kahofer’s life will take place on March 16 at 2 p.m. at the Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor. The family has suggested memorial gifts for the church, 44 Union Street, Sag Harbor 11963, or to a charity of personal choice.