Business Obituaries The Center

Andy Yee, Partner in West Hartford’s Union Kitchen and Wurst Haus, Has Died

Andy Yee (left) and Peter Picknelly at the opening of Union Kitchen, 43 LaSalle Rd., West Hartford Center on Nov. 29, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Bean Restaurant Group Co-Owner Andy Yee died Thursday, May 27.

By Ronni Newton

Andy Yee is being remembered Friday for his laugh, and his always-positive attitude.

Yee, the co-owner with his brother, Edison, of Bean Restaurant Group, died Thursday just 10 days before his 60th birthday.

Massachusetts-based Bean Restaurant Group, in partnership with Peter Pan Bus Lines CEO Peter Picknelly and chef/partner Zach Shuman, owns Union Kitchen and Wurst Haus in West Hartford.

A toast to the grand opening of Wurst Haus West Hartford on March 31, 2021. From left: Scott Dolch, Mayor Shari Cantor, Zach Shuman, Peter Picknelly, Andy Yee, and Edison Yee. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The Yee family also owns, either on their own or in partnership, multiple restaurants in Massachusetts including Wurst Haus in Northampton, The Student Prince in Springfield, Johnny’s Tavern in Amherst, Johnny’s Bar and Grill in South Hadley, Iya Sushi and Noodle kitchen in Amherst and South Hadley, Johnny’s Roadside Grill in Hadley, The Boathouse in South Hadley, The Halfway House in South Hadley, Johnny’s Tap Room in South Hadley, and the White Hut in West Springfield.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that our brother, Andy Yee passed away on Thursday May 27, 2021,” the Yee family said in a statement Friday.

“Anyone who knew Andy, knew that his laugh was contagious, his personality bigger than life, and he was always bursting with pride for his family and friends. Our family appreciates your support and privacy during this time.”

Yee was in West Hartford as recently as late March, attending the “sausage cutting” that celebrated the opening of Wurst Haus, the German-themed restaurant which took the place of McLadden’s on LaSalle Road.

He said he was excited to bring award-winning German cuisine paired with a wide selection of European beers to West Hartford. “The pandemic gave us the opportunity to rebrand this restaurant,” Yee said at the opening.

“We want to build community and know the restaurant will offer a fun, relaxed atmosphere where people can come together to dine and raise a boot of beer,” he said.

Andy Yee of Bean Restaurant Group with Kenny, captain of the Philadelphia Aqua String Band Mummers outside. Union Kitchen in West Hartford. March 16, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

“Andy and I worked side by side for the last seven years of my career with BRG,” Shuman said Friday.

“He always pushed me to take on more. He was like an uncle to me, and I believe I am where I am today because of him and his family! Always laughing, never negative, saw the positive in any situation,” he said.

Shuman recalled many great memories of after work drinks with Yee, and trips to Chicago, Boston, New York, Orlando, and other place.   

“True industry legend!” he added.

Kristen Fritz and Jeannette Dardenne, owners of Eat IN Connecticut, also reflected Friday on Yee’s passing and his impact on the restaurant industry.

“We are saddened to learn about the passing of our friend and colleague Andy Yee – one of the most kind-hearted, smart and energetic people we have had the opportunity to work with,” they said. “His passion for living your best life was infectious. He leaves behind a legacy with Bean Restaurant Group, one that we know will flourish for years to come, carrying on Andy’s enthusiastic spirit, larger than life personality, and a ‘Think Big – Go Big’ mentality. Our hearts and prayers are with the Picknellys, the Yees and the entire Bean Group team throughout this difficult time.”

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