George’s Family Restaurant was as busy as ever Sunday morning, with full tables and the waitstaff bustling about, but deep sadness hung in the air over the passing of one of the diner’s most familiar figures: Dionisios Konstantos, better known as Saki or Dennis.
The youngest son of Ourania and George Konstantos, the owners of the popular diner at 145 S. Oak Park Ave., he cared deeply about his family’s restaurant and everyone who entered it. His life was cut short by a heart attack at the age of 36, but he will be remembered as a friend who was as quick to give hugs as he was to top off your coffee. He died on Nov. 10.
“He was a wonderful son,” said George Konstantos. “I love him very much.”
His dedication to the diner, went beyond greeting customers by name and memorizing how they liked their hash browns. Beneath his cheeky humor and unpretentious personality was a compassionate soul who worried when elderly regulars didn’t show up at their usual time. He kept their preferred tables open just in case.
“He worked hard at this restaurant always,” George said. “He loved the people.”
When staff was short, he picked up the slack — waiting tables, working the register and manning the grill himself. During quieter hours, he could often be found listening to the lengthy stories of chatty customers or engaging them in friendly debates.
“Inside the Oak Park community, there were few faces as welcoming as Saki’s,” Oak Park Eats Editor Melissa Elsmo said. “No trip to George’s was complete without seeing Saki.”
He is survived by his parents, George and Ourania Konstantos; his brother, John; and his sister, Konstantina. He was the uncle of Fereniki, Ourania and George.
Services were held on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at St. Lazaros Greek Orthodox Chapel in Des Plaines, with interment at Ridgewood Cemetery.