SCHENECTADY — Bellevue Café owner Spiro Mikropoulos has died.
Mikropoulos died Wednesday at Ellis Hospital, family members confirmed on Thursday.
The Times Union reported the cause was complications from coronavirus.
“He was probably the most dynamite man I ever knew,” said longtime friend John Marcella. “His heart was bigger than himself.”
The pair became close after Mikropoulos opened the Brandywine Diner in Schenectady in the early-1960s, traveling together with a particular appetite for casinos.
Mikropoulos opened Bellevue Café in the 1980s and quickly transformed the restaurant into a local institution, said Marcella, owner of Marcella’s Appliance Center in Schenectady.
“It grew and grew and grew because he was very energetic about doing different things,” he said. “He had a beautiful full menu with deserts and soup. He created parties and he was there for everybody.”
The pair last spoke when Mikropoulos called to check in with Marcella several days after the state ordered people to stay home to halt spread of the virus.
Two days earlier, they had breakfast together at the Bellevue Cafe and discussed their upcoming travel plans.
“He’s just a wonderful human being and I’m shocked,” Marcella said. “He’s going to be sorely, sorely missed by many, many people.”
Bellevue Café stopped providing takeout orders on March 27 and remains closed, according to its Facebook page.
As of Thursday, 13 Schenectady County residents have succumbed to the virus, which has killed more than 11,000 New Yorkers.