Family reflects on life of Schenectady restaurant owner one day after his death

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Schenectady community is mourning a well-known restaurant owner, who police said died Wednesday night.

A sign on the Peter Pause Restaurant on Thursday said it is closed. Schenectady police said its owner, Dean Plakas, died on Wednesday.

Plakas was set to get married on Saturday. His fiancée spoke with NEWS10 ABC.

“We weren’t perfect, but we were perfect for each other,” Amie Phillips said.

Phillips and Plakas were going to get married at Lake Placid after more than four years together.

“He was so excited about his life and the things to come for us,” Phillips said.

Schenectady Police Sgt. Matt Dearing said police received a medical call just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Peter Pause Restaurant. Dearing said Plakas was pronounced dead at Ellis Hospital a short time later.

He was 36 years old.

“There’s just nobody else like him,” Phillips said.

Phillips and Plakas owned Peter Pause. This February would have marked three years with the business. It helped Plakas make a name for himself in the community.

“He was just the people person of our business,” Phillips said. “Everybody knows him. He knows everybody.”

And his patrons took notice.

“Really hard worker; always cooking and always moving around the restaurant,” longtime customer Scott Wiltsie said.

Plakas was selfless with his customers and his family.

“He loved me and my children like they were his own,” Phillips said.

The Plakas family said Dean was one of the most family oriented people they had ever known. The family said: “Family was so important to him. It was paramount to who he was.”

Plakas was one of eight children. He had six brothers and one sister. In 2006, his mother passed away after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. In his 20s at the time, Plakas stepped up and took on the role of caretaker.

His family said that’s who he was: always doing for others. Phillips felt the same.

“Anybody in the community, whenever they needed help, he was always there,” she said.

After his death, Phillips said she’s going to make sure his legacy lives on.

“I’ll run our business just the way he always wanted us to, and I won’t fail him,” she said.

Police said they are waiting on autopsy results to determine a cause of death.

Plakas’s family also owns Newest Lunch, which was also closed on Thursday. The family said Plakas leaves behind Phillips, her two children, seven siblings, and a son.

You can donate to help Amie and her kids.

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