Showing support for Sal

Coffee House Too co-owner, Sal Licastri, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 26

The business’s front door covered in “Get well soon” notes

Owning a small business often means falling into a daily routine, but on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 24, the family and friends of Coffee House Too, located at 2514 E. York St., were thrown out of their norm when co-owner Sal Licastri suffered a major heart attack. Yet, after sharing the news on Facebook, the location saw a outpouring of support as community members posted “Get well soon” sticky notes on the doors of the business.

This outreach began just shortly after 8 a.m. on Sunday when the business shared news of Licastri’s critical condition at a hospital, and asked for customers to keep him in their thoughts and prayers. Although around 9 p.m., it again shared that there were no new updates on Sal’s condition, the company’s doors had been flooded with support, so much so that Coffee House Too lightheartedly posted that it was going to need more doors.

“I had just come back from the hospital to get plates for the family [when I saw the sticky notes],” co-owner of Coffee House Too Derick Warren, said. “It kills me, all the love and support. [Licastri] has always been a giver, and the community outreach in response to this happening was unbelievable.”

By the following day at noon, the business shared that, while Licastri’s fever had gone down to 99 degrees, he remained unresponsive due to the lack of oxygen to his brain for 20 minutes after his heart attack, and had not yet undergone any brain scans. Later that night, the hospital was able to streamline his blood pressure medicine into one line, which they put in Licastri’s neck, and the pump which had been delaying his MRI was removed.

While the MRI was scheduled for that evening, on Tuesday morning the Facebook page administrators shared that it was unable to be completed due to issues with his oxygen levels overnight, and a scheduled fire drill had also delayed his CAT scan earlier. Although his family demanded that the MRI be administered on Tuesday, late that night it was confirmed that Licastri had passed.

“It was heart wrenching [to hear that he passed]. We were prepared just in case it were to go this route, but we hoping for a better turnout,” Josh Mullins, the manger of the East York Street location. “It was devastating.”

After, the coffee house shared, “Words can’t express how deeply sorry I am to tell you that Sal did not make it. We will post service information when we can. Sal will live on through all of us. Love, light and peace be with all of you.” Others additionally took to the social media platform to voice their condolences, with one friend, Doug Warren, describing Licastri as a man who knew everyone’s name, their dog’s name, where they worked and who involved himself in making people smile.

Yet, in honor of the businessman, on Wednesday, Sept. 27, Coffee House Too opened its doors during normal business hours, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., to hand out free egg sandwiches and coffee drinks in Licastri’s honor. In doing so, it hoped to gather community members, not to mourn, but instead to “celebrate the life of one of the most genuine, selfless, thoughtful, loving, charming and kind men.”

“[The sandwiches and coffee are] his honor, but it’s also to thank all of the customers and Fishtown community and surrounding areas, because everyone has done so much for us over the years,” Mullins said. “We are really connected to our customers, and we wanted to say our thanks for their support. We also wanted to give back in the same way that Sal would.”