Sisto Malaspina was a beloved institution in Melbourne’s inner city cafe scene. (YouTube: Melbourne City Council)
The 74-year-old man killed by a terrorist in Melbourne yesterday has been identified as Sisto Malaspina, the co-owner of iconic Melbourne restaurant Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar.
Mr Malaspina died after he was attacked by 30-year-old Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali.
The Melbourne institution was closed today and floral tributes were assembled in the window, accompanied by a hand-written sign paying tribute to the “best boss”.
“Sisto — thank you for making us your staff members as part of your life,” the sign reads.
A shrine has been created at Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar in Melbourne following the death of co-owner Sisto Malaspina. (ABC News: Damian McIver)
“You always looked after us like family.
“You always said to have fun at work because we all worked so hard.
“Pellegrini’s was your life. We will never forget all that you have done and given us all,
“We will love you forever and ever in our hearts.”
Mr Malaspina was born in Italy and came to Australia in 1963.
He took over Pellegrini’s with his friend Nino Pangrazio in 1974.
In a video to celebrate 40 years of their ownership of the restaurant in 2014, Mr Malaspina spoke of his love for his customers and business partner.
“The thing that I find very beautiful — it’s like going back 40 years … little children that were in their mother’s tummy, then come in as a baby, now they come in with their own children. That’s so wonderful,” he said.
“I love people, especially Pellegrini’s customers. They are the best in the world.”
Two men, aged 24 and 58, are both in a stable condition in Royal Melbourne Hospital following surgery for lacerations.
Shire Ali died in hospital after being shot by police as he lunged towards them with a knife.