A Melbourne restaurateur who was murdered in last week’s terrorist attack will be given a state funeral, with heartbroken customers queuing to pay their respects to a man who made them happy.
Sisto Malaspina, co-owner of Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar on Melbourne’s Bourke Street, was killed when a terrorist stabbed him and two others before being fatally shot by police in an attack on Friday afternoon.
Demonstrating the impact that Mr Malaspina’s life and work had on his community, hundreds of people queued around the block to lay flowers and sign a condolence book outside the cafe (pictured).
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews posted on Twitter than Mr Malaspina would be given a state funeral.
“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,” he wrote.
Pellegrini’s Facebook page has been flooded with messages of support for Mr Malaspina’s family and business, as well as photos of the growing floral tribute.
“Our heart breaks for you Sisto and your family. From all at Evelyn Faye Nutrition, 360 Bourke St. Melbourne,” wrote Robyn Collins.
“Absolutely stunned… so sorry Sisto. Thanks for the charm, the flattery and the creme caramel... we’ll never have another like you. Condolences to Nino and the team... stay strong,” added Julie Mirabile.
Other comments came from much further afield.
“So very sorry to hear this news about Sisto. What a brilliant character... a true Melbourne icon. Whenever I visit Melbourne, Pellegrini's is top of my list of things to do and Sisto always made each visit special. Love to all from us here in Perth,” said Alex Hyman.
According to ABC reports, there is a growing push to rename Crossley Street, which sits directly adjacent to Pellegrini’s, to Sisto Street as a permanent tribute.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.