Iconic Melbourne cafe Pellegrini’s has re-opened its doors this morning, four days after co-owner Sisto Malaspina was killed during last Friday’s Bourke Street attack.

The famous CBD institution – a local favourite among many – was greeted with long lines as regulars and new faces gathered to pay respects to the 74-year-old, who was stabbed to death while trying to assist during the early stages of the horrific incident.

The enduring cornerstone of Melbourne’s CBD closed following Sisto’s tragic death, which sparked an outpouring of emotion from Melburnians far and wide, all of whom heaped universal praise on the beloved restauranteur.

Floral tributes have piled up on the outside of the Bourke Street building, which lies just a short distance from the spot where Sisto lost his life last Friday.

Staff at the bar are today serving free long blacks – Sisto’s favourite – to customers in honour of the venue’s co-owner. Malaspina’s family yesterday issued a statement thanking people for the gifts, pledging to donate all flowers left at the venue to local hospitals and nursing homes to “give joy to others.”

Poignantly, an empty seat at the bar was reserved for Sisto, coupled with his regular morning combination of a long black and a copy of the Herald Sun.

Premier Daniel Andrews has extended the offer of a state funeral for Sisto, which his family accepted. Andrews also lent support to a push that would see the laneway Pellegrino’s borders re-named in honour of the late cafe owner.

Sisto, in many ways, represented the true beating heart of Melbourne; a giant city with a village soul. His story and enduring kindness leaves a legacy with few peers. And he will be missed, dearly, achingly so, by an entire city.

Vale, Sisto.

Image: Getty Images / Michael Dodge