LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — The sign grabbed your attention from the road despite – or maybe due to – its mangled appearance. The words, ‘Frida’s Cafe & Bakery’ were crooked, and the LED lights were out.
“It’s scary to think about it,” said Alex Mencarini. “Could have been while customers were here, anybody was here.”
According to Largo police, resident Garry McCue drove his car the wrong direction on Ulmerton Road and crashed into the big sign. He was charged with drunk driving and driving with a suspended license.
“I was in awe. It felt fake,” Mencarini said. “Looking at that sign every day, you don’t think that something like that can happen. It’s crazy.”
Thankfully, the crash happened late Thursday night, long after most people were gone.
“It speaks for itself,” Mencarini said. “Really, honestly.”
It does. Barista Alex Mencarini got his first glimpse Friday midday. What he saw was a torn up sign with metal bent out of shape and computer parts strewn on the ground. The car left a couple shards of glass and part of a light in the grass, as well as what appears to be skid marks.
“Speechless. Very speechless,” Mencarini said. “I pulled out my phone immediately. It was just — I need to get a picture of it while it’s still — it was crazy. Very insane.”
But Sunday evening, 8 On Your Side was there while a crane hoisted the sign up and a man welded it back into shape, sparks flying against the burning sunset of the Largo sky. The – effectively – large paper weight was bent back into shape, now becoming a sign. Still no LED, though. It will likely be months before a new sign takes its place.
This weekend, the Largo community came through for the popular restuarant.
“It was packed,” Mencarini said. “Not one space available. The community was just — everyone was just showing love, coming in, supporting us.”
Even Frida herself made the best of a tough situation.
“She was like, ‘Yeah, you should go make a TikTok, make light of it, do something good,'” recalled Mencarini. “I was like, ‘Yeah, awesome, glad you feel that way. That’s very refreshing to hear.'”
Frida’s Cafe & Bakery is still fully open and functional with normal hours of operation. They close early on Christmas Eve and are closed on Christmas Day.