Lisa’s Radial Cafe lost its Lisa.
Lisa Schembri, the big-personality owner of the big-hearted place that served big pancakes and endless cups of coffee died Wednesday at her Omaha home. She was 55.
A funeral Mass will 2 p.m. Tuesday at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, a block from the Radial, near 40th and Cuming Streets. The Radial will host friends and family following the funeral.
Lisa was a hard-working, fun-loving, crazy-scarf-wearing person who identified with Lucille Ball and had “I Love Lucy” paraphernalia hanging all over the cafe. Lisa was brass tacks, insisting customers pay with cash because credit card fees were too high. She even had a cash machine in the back room waiting area where customers on crowded weekends squeezed in and enjoyed complimentary coffee.
Cafe workers described Lisa as goofy, loving and insistent on giving customers a quality experience, right down to the thick coffee mugs.
“She didn’t take shortcuts,” said Lisa Harrison, a longtime waitress whom the other Lisa hired once after telling her there were no open positions.
“A customer said, ‘I think you should hire her,'” Harrison recalled, and Lisa Schembri rushed out the old front door, asked her to come back in and gave her a job she’s had for 13 years.
“Lisa is the cafe,” Harrison said about her late boss. “She loved this cafe. It was her life.”
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