By John Sacco
Natalie DeiCas has always stood out.
She is tall, strong and knows what she wants. She is a presence.
DeiCas owns her own business – Everyday’s a Sunday – in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Her establishment is much more than making food and serving it. She’s become an important part of her community and one who is reaching out to touch and literally serve those in need.
What’s more, she continues to spread the goodness of her soul by remembering people from her hometown of Monessen, who helped her get on her way and taught her about cooking, serving and life.
DeiCas has taken those many lessons learned and instilled them to her everyday life.
“I always loved to cook,” she said. “It was always my dream to have my own restaurant.”
Everyday’s a Sunday is a breakfast and lunch café, located on Penn Avenue in Garfield.
It has also become a pick-up for people in need of food for the last two years. The restaurant collects food donated to 412 Food Rescue, a local nonprofit, and turns it into dinners and other meals for families.
While the global COVID-19 pandemic was some factor, DeiCas – who is owner, operator and chef, said the number of people in need and the number of donations continues to grow since the virus hit in March 2020.
“It’s sad for me to see faces of people who were or are hungry,” DeiCas said. “It got to the point I had them walk in and take food. I really do understand what some people are going through.
“It’s wonderful to be able to provide people with food. The pandemic has been horrible. Some restaurants can’t adapt.”
DeiCas has teamed with Latoya Turner, to provide more offerings. Turner rents space in DeiCas’ kitchen for her restaurant business, Birria Azul.
Everyday’s a Sunday is partnering with other virtual restaurants, “ghost restaurants,” from Los Angeles to roll out their menu ideas to Pittsburgh customers. The LA restaurant gets a cut of the profits and Everyday’s a Sunday gets some new dishes, from cheesesteaks to breakfast burritos to grilled cheese.
DeiCas opened her restaurant in 2013 on Penn Circle South in East Liberty. She moved to her current location three years ago in May.
After graduating from Clarion University, DeiCas worked for six years as a court-appointed counselor for juveniles.
She said her father, Carl, helped her find the spot in East Liberty. Shortly before the business opened Aug. 6, 2013, DeiCas gave birth to her daughter, Veronica Rose. Mom and daughter reside in Monessen.
“My mother’s side and my father’s side – we’re all Italian immigrants, Calabrese,” she said. “Both my grandmothers were homemakers and cooks, and I owe it all to them. There were no shortcuts when I helped them cooking. When we went to their houses, we had to cook and eat.”
It was Libby’s Dairy Bar, owned by the Cocciolone family of Monessen, where DeiCas decided she wanted to have her own restaurant.
Her boss, and good friend, the late JoAnne Cocciolone, taught and trained her how to operate a dairy bar. Those lessons spanned from preparation, service to dealing with the customers and earning their trust.
Cocciolone would make weekly visits to DeiCas, making suggestions, telling jokes and serving as a mentor like she had in her protege’s teenage days.
Sadly, Cocciolone passed away in 2020.
“Jo Anne was more than my mentor,” DeiCas said. “I had worked there since I was 14-years-old. She taught me so much. I tried to buy her store the three times it was up for sale and she wouldn’t sell it to me. She wanted me to venture out and get something of my own. I miss her, but I am truly indebted to her.”
Patty Alcorn, Jo Anne Coccolione’s sister, said DeiCas was an outstanding employee and dear friend to the family.
“We got to know so many good people through Libby’s,” Alcorn said. “Natalie stood out in such a nice way. She was always so good working with the customers and interacting with them.
“We watched her grow up. She was reliable and trustworthy. She trained so many new employees. She was able to juggle schoolwork, athletics and a job. It says so much about a person’s character. We’re very happy for her.”
DeiCas honored one of her favorite customers from Libby’s, the late John “Butchie” Turkovich, by naming a breakfast sandwich for him at Everyday’s A Sunday.
“The Butchie” includes fried capicola, dippy egg, provolone cheese and sliced tomatoes, served on a toasted asiago bagel.
“When I found out about it, I instantly had a smile on my face,” said Nicole Turkovich Johnson. “Natalie waited on him for years at Libby’s. She had a special bond with him.
“The sandwich was him to a tee. It warmed my heart she would do that. She said that my dad believed in her whatever she did.”
DeCais said “The Butchie” sells very well.
“It’s a classic sandwich, made for Pittsburgh,” she said. “A lot of my sandwiches are named after something from Monessen. It’s my home.”