This morning I found out that Leisa Bell passed away on January 31, 2014. She was the welcoming and often boisterous owner of Mello’s Restaurant in Ottawa.
To me, she made Mello’s what it is. I just heard a story from my colleague that accurately portrays her sense of humour:
“Some guy asked Leisa if the pancakes were any good – she loudly responded in front of a full restaurant ‘No – the pancakes fucking suck… what do you want me to say?'”
You will be sincerely missed by so many people Leisa.
Please feel free to share a memory of Leisa that you have in the comments.
Edit: The Ottawa Citizen recently published an article about Leisa. You can find it here.
The Friday breakfast club will miss you Leisa. You were a joyful soul to so many. John, Richard, Rick, Lee, JP, Marise, Norm.
The previous owner was in my store earlier this week telling me about Leisa and it has upset me for days. Your article made me laugh and brought me a little closer to Leisa. Thank you Mark.
I’m so saddened to hear the news of Leisa. Every time I went to the Byward Market I would stop at Mellos and could count on being received with Leisa’s friendly greeting. Leisa was very special and I’m thankful for having known her. Thank you Mark for remembering her.
Leisa WAS Mello’s. It was like we were all eating in her kitchen. She’s one of very few people who always made me feel special, as if she knew I needed to hear it. I’m so saddened by these news. RIP Leisa and thank you for everything.
The first morning I met Leisa I was actually late for the breakfast rush and they had already locked the door. She noticed me outside so she ran over to unlock the door and said “quick get in but don’t you tell nobody!” From that point on, Mello’s became my go-to breakfast spot. Her sense of humour and presence will be missed, she truly was Mello’s.
I was lucky enough to know Leisa for 23 short years, she was family. She never failed to make you laugh with a dirty joke or to pick on you for being too skinny. We lost a great one.
I used to work across the street from Mello’s and we frequently had breakfast meetings at a Mello’s booth. Five of us crammed in there and Leisa knew all of our orders by heart – we never needed menus. For some reason she always called me “hot lips” when she dropped off my usual cheese omelette with home fried and brown toast.
After a while I moved onto a new job and stopped going to Mello’s. A long while later I was in the market and decided to pop in for breakfast. I sat down at the counter. Not missing a beat, she poured me a coffee and asked “the usual, hot lips?”
She’ll be missed.
It has never been a hole in the wall;
Its a home with a kitchen to everyone who has ever walked in the door.
Two poached, two grilled, mashed, brown, bacon well…
Nobody said EFF like this special girl!
You will be missed Leisa my darling, forever the best
We love You!
James Bond The Cutting Room two doors down
I would go into Mello’s on the weekend for my hangover breakfast sandwich. Once when my parents came with me (we would always go there when they visited), she told them she saw me as a daughter and kept an eye on me. I told her that when I got better at French, I’d come apply for a job so she could have a proper server to help her out. She will be sorely missed!
Our family ate there yesterday morning and wondered where Leisa was … so heartbreaking to learn of her sudden passing. She was unique and amazing. A straight-shooter with a big heart. We will miss her dearly.
Leisa was one of the most authentic and genuine people I have ever met. I am completely blown away by her passing. The market just lost a lot of its character. I will miss her. My thoughts are with her family and many friends.
So sad to hear about Leisa. She was such a sweetheart and treated me so well when I worked with her at the Outback Pub on Downpatrick Road. She was the glue that kept things running smoothly there. Many fond memories.
It sad to hear that she past away so Young,she was such a nice person,i liked hur verry mutch guys gonna miss her. Rest in peace love you Lise.
I was devastated to hear of Leisa’s passing. No one could say drop the “f” bomb quite like Leisa, she was always a straight shooter and you knew where you stood ALWAYS! I’d go for my 5:30am run and there she was banging on the window waving. She had a fabulous memory “2 poached soft, 1 dry br.bread, it’s after 10am but the poacher still on, don’t tell anyone ……that’s not enough to eat for breakfast” Leisa and Sammy were a duo! Mello’s will never be the same……
I used to stop in to Mello’s often to recoop from studying and I needed strong coffee and a straight shooter like Leisa to bring me back to earth. I am saddened to know I won’t see her on my next trek back to Ottawa. I always knew her name was Leisa but was suprised (particularly when I read RIP Leisa Bell) to find out we shared the same unique spelling and last name. I only hope I learn to also pick up her sharp wit and big heart. She will be missed.
We so often don’t realize how much we appreciate someone’s presence in our lives until they’re gone. Walking into Mello’s with Leisa behind the counter was like stepping into another place and time, the classic roadside diner days when the servers called everyone “honey” and “sweetheart”. Whether I was dragging myself there in the earliest hours of the morning or shuffling in with a hangover in the afternoon, she was always ready to joke and chat and make my day a bit brighter. She was such a fun, genuine person; I’m gonna miss her so much.
RIP, Leisa. Thanks for the memories.
Leisa was my aunt and a wonderfull woman not afraid to tell anybody her opinion thats what made her so special. You will be missed by all of us here with you and by everyone back home in NB. Love you and miss you always leis. Xoxo
My wife and I were so sad to hear that Leisa died when we stopped in last Saturday. We would usually say, “Let’s go see Leisa for breakfast”. It wasn’t necessarily going to Mellos, although we enjoy Sam’s cooking and Chantal and Skyler’s service, too.
Leisa became a friend from the first time we went in.
We are still in shock. We will miss you. We will continue going to Mellos, as you would have wanted us to.
Phil and Dianna
OMG…..I started going to Mello’s a few years ago. Leisa was an amazing woman. She was funny, beautiful and had a memory like a steel trap. Always knew what I wanted.