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 line is out the door at Pelligrinis as it opens for the first time since Friday’s attack. ☕️ @sunriseon7 @7NewsMelbourne pic.twitter.com/w54w6a7VOB— David Woiwod (@DavidWoiwod) November 12, 2018
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.
An empty seat at Pellegrini’s bar for Sisto Malaspina… along with his favourite coffee, a long black and a newspaper.— Kristina Costalos (@kcostalos) November 12, 2018
The doors will open shortly. @10NewsFirst pic.twitter.com/yYMRlyRRA1
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 Malaspina was a Victorian icon, known and loved by us all. I spoke to his family again this morning, and they have accepted my offer of a State Funeral next week, with more details to come. Until then, our love and thoughts remain with Sisto's family.— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) November 12, 2018
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.
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