Culture

Tributes Are Pouring In For The Beloved Melbourne Cafe Icon Killed In The Bourke Street Attack

Sisto Malaspina operated the iconic Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar for more than 40 years.

Bourke Street attack victim and Pellegrini's Espresso Bar owner Sisto Malaspina

Tributes are pouring in for beloved Melbourne restaurant owner Sisto Malaspina, who was killed in the Bourke Street attack on Friday afternoon.

The 74-year-old Malaspina was fatally stabbed by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, in what has been described by police as a terrorist attack. Ali was subsequently shot by police, and died in hospital on Friday night. Two other men were injured during the attack, but are expected to recover.

Malaspina was the co-owner of Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, which opened on Bourke Street 60 years ago and is credited with helping to kickstart Melbourne’s cafe culture. Malaspina took over the venue in 1974 with his business partner Nino Pangrazio, who told Fairfax he was “devastated” by the loss of his friend.

“We’ve been business partners since 1974 and we were friends for 10 years before that,” said Pangrazio. “He was just so happy go lucky and always with a smile. We hardly had a cross word in the whole time we worked together.”

On Saturday staff and customers erected a floral tribute to Malaspina outside of Pellegrini’s. Meanwhile, a number of prominent Melburnians have taken to social media to pay their respects.