Meet New York grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis, the outspoken Trump supporter who sleeps with James Bond’s gun under his pillow

Andrea Catsimatidis, Margo Catsimatidis and John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis is the owner of New York City supermarket chain Gristedes Foods. YeahJared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

  • John Catsimatidis is the owner of New York City supermarket chain Gristedes Foods.

  • The billionaire told Daily Mail this week that kids are “too busy on TikTok” to grow careers.

  • Catsimatidis is an outspoken Trump supporter and hosts a political talk show.

John Catsimatidis was born on the Greek island of Nisyros, but his family moved to West Harlem when he was about six months old.

John Catsimatidis

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

His father was a lighthouse operator in Greece and served as a busser at a restaurant when the family moved to New York City.

Source: Daily Mail, NY Report

Before he launched his grocery chain, 74-year-old Catsimatidis first worked in a supermarket the summer after graduating.

john catsimatidis

screenshot/Business Insider video

The billionaire told Daily Mail that the summer he graduated from Brooklyn Tech High School he got a job at a local supermarket after his mother “threw” him off the couch.

“I was ready to sleep on the couch for the whole summer and watch television,” he told the publication.

The grocery store was partially owned by his uncle. At the grocery store, Catsimatidis said he worked about 70 hours a week and would often tidy the story for the next day.

Source: Daily Mail, NY Report

Catsimatidis was offered a congressional nomination to attend West Point after he graduated high school, but chose to attend New York University instead.

West Point

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

He studied electrical engineering at NYU. While he was at NYU, Catsimatidis continued to work at the grocery store on nights and weekends.

Source: Daily Mail, Forbes,

While at NYU, Catsimatidis acquired a partial stake in his uncle’s supermarket.

john catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis may not be running for NYC mayor, but he’s in the running to own a big NYC tabloid.REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

He later dropped out of NYU only eight credits shy of graduating in order to work at the grocery store fulltime, his website says.

Sources: Forbes, Daily Mail

Catsimatidis continued to expand the grocery store into a chain after he left NYU.


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The mogul, who is currently worth about $4.1 billion, told Daily Mail that he was making a million dollars a year by the age of 24.

Sources: Forbes, Daily Mail

By the time he was 25, Catsimatidis owned 10 grocery stores on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

John Catsimatidis, Margo Catsimatidis

John and Margo Catsimatidis attend the Rita Hayworth Gala Hamptons Kickoff Event hosted by Alzheimer’s Association at Private Residence on August 3, 2018 in Water Mill, New York.Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Catsimatidis owned and operated Red Apple supermarkets, and acquired the Gristedes supermarket chain in 1986, according to Catsimatidis’ website.

Red Apple says Gristedes is now the largest supermarket chain in New York City.


Catsimatidis may be best known for his grocery business, but a lot of his wealth comes from elsewhere.


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Catsimatidis made much of his wealth from the oil refineries and gas stations he owns, The Real Deal reported. He bought United Refining Company in 1986 out of bankruptcy.

Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Group has holding in energy, retail, aviation, and real estate, the company says. He also owns a radio station, according to Forbes.

Catsimatidis told Daily Mail he likes to be involved in “a little bit of everything” and he was able to use the money from his grocery chain to buy up properties for “nickels and dimes.”

“One property, I bought for $400,000, and I sold it for $40 million, but those are the opportunities I took advantage of,” he told the publication.

Sources: The Real Deal, United Refining Company, Daily Mail

Catsimatidis lives with his wife, Margo, on Manhattan’s Upper East side and he has two children.

Andrea Catsimatidis, Margo Catsimatidis and John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis is the owner of New York City supermarket chain Gristedes Foods. YeahJared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Both of Catsimatidis’ adult children, Andrea and John Jr. are executives at Red Apple Group.

Sources: Red Apple Group, Insider

The family has a second home in the Hamptons, complete with infrared sensors.

$17.95 million Quogue, ny waterfront estate

East Quogue, New York.Corcoran

The vacation home is located in East Quogue, New York, according to The New York Post.

Catsimatidis told The Post in 2018 that he was upping security measures at his Hamptons home after a recent break-in and nearby activity from MS-13.

“I sleep with a gun underneath my pillow: a Walther PPK/S, the same one James Bond carried,” Catsimatidis told The Post. “[My wife] Margo prefers a shotgun. Although, once, she thought she heard something, got the shotgun out and shot through the door.”

Source: The New York Post

Catsimatidis is very active in local politics.

John Catsimatidis

Catsimatidis during his campaign to become New York City mayor in 2013.Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The billionaire is an outspoken fundraiser and donor to the Republican Party, according to The New York Times. He even ran for New York City mayor in 2013, but lost in the Republican primary to former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota.

Catsimatidis considered running for mayor again in 2021 and even pondered a campaign as a Democratic candidate, but didn’t end up running. He then considered running for New York governor in 2022, but ended up deciding against it.

Sources: The New York Times, Fox News, New York Post


He’s also a supporter of former President Donald Trump

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

Catsimatidis told Bloomberg in 2019 that “Trump has stood up against the problem at the borders … Build a wall.”

More recently, he said in March that he would back any Republican candidate over President Joe Biden in a 2024 election.

Catsimatidis frequently had political figures stop by to discuss public policy while his children were growing up, including the Clintons, Rudy Giuliani, and John Kerry, The Times reported.

Catsimatidis also hosts a politics-focused talk radio show which airs on several stations on Sunday mornings, called The Cats Roundtable.

Sources: Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Cats Roundtable

He was a Clinton supporter before he promoted Trump.

Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Catsimatidis was described as a “high level Clinton donor” by The New York Times in 2006. And he was on Hillary Clinton’s finance team during her 2008 presidential campaign for Democratic nomination.

Hillary Clinton attended Andrea Catsimatidis’ wedding and the billionaire has also said he is friends with Bill Clinton.

Sources: The New York Times, Associated Press 

In 2019, Catsimatidis made headlines after telling The New York Times that he had used a controversial facial recognition app to do a background check on a man his daughter was on a date with.

Andrea Catsimatidis attends the 60th Annual Summer Party

Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The incident occurred after John spotted Andrea dining at a restaurant with a man he didn’t know. He had the waiter secretly snap a photo of the date, used the app to identify him, and emailed the results to Andrea.

“I wanted to make sure he wasn’t a charlatan,” John Catsimatidis told The New York Times.

However, the app he used was an unreleased piece of software at the time. Its searchable database of photos scraped from across the web was only sold to police departments and federal agencies, Clearview says, but reports indicated that it has also given access to other clients, including billionaires like Catsimatidis, retail chains like Walmart and Macy’s, the NBA, and even some high schools.

Last year, the company was banned from selling its product to the majority of US companies after the American Civil Liberties Union took the company to court over privacy laws.

At the time, the billionaire said he was friends with a Clearview AI founder, Richard Schwartz, and that he ran a trial project with the app at an East Side Gristedes that was having trouble with shoplifters stealing Häagen-Dazs.

Sources: BBC, Insider, Insider, The New York Times

More recently, Catsimatidis generated more headlines this week after he said the younger generation is “too busy on TikTok” to grow their careers.


John CatsimatidisAP Photo/Kathy Willens

“That’s one of the problems we are having in our country these days, the kids are busy playing TikTok,” he told Daily Mail in an interview.

Catsimatidis said said that he feels a strong work ethic has gone by the wayside for many workers today.

“The harder you work, the easier it gets to win,” he said. “Look at people only working three days a week, and I’ll show you failures.”

Sources: Daily Mail, Insider

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