Feed the Frontlines is Helping NYC
While it looks like NYC restaurants are on the verge of closing for indoor dining once again, on March 15, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced all restaurants and bars to be shut down in New York City due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring, restaurants could only stay open if they offered takeout and delivery in order to slow the spread of the newfound virus.
Luca DiPietro, owner of restaurant chain ‘Tarallucci E Vino,’ was forced to shut down four out of his five restaurants in New York City and let go of 95 employees. After the shutdown he was disappointed and felt like he let his employees down.
A few days after the announcement of the shutdown, a DiPietro family friend messaged Kate DiPietro, co-founder of Feed the Frontlines, to order some food from Tarallucci E Vino to be delivered to the emergency room staff at NYU Langone. Adair Roberts, the family friend, ordered 40 meals to help her friends’ business and to also feed the hardworking doctors, nurses and other frontline workers in New York City.
After delivering the meals to the hospital, it clicked. Mr. DiPietro saw this as an opportunity to keep restaurants in business while also nourishing the incredible frontline workers in New York City. The DiPietro family got to work immediately. Isabella DiPietro, co-founder of Feed the Frontlines and daughter of Luca and Kate DiPietro, got to work on setting up a website with some college friends.
“We launched the website for Feed the Frontlines NYC in about 18 hours, and as soon as we launched it the donations came pouring in. People immediately saw this was a win-win. You could help keep restaurants afloat during this difficult time, but also get food to people who needed it most,” Isabella said.
Feed the Frontlines was doing great, but they wanted to expand. The DiPietro family reached out to restaurants and restaurants reached out to the DiPietro’s to collaborate with Feed the Frontlines NYC. Feed the Frontlines has now teamed up with more than 30 restaurants to bring back more than 130 employees and feed New Yorkers in need.
“They announced closing the day before Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick’s Day is clearly our busiest day of the year. Given no notice we had thousands of pounds of corn beef and we had barrels and barrels of Guinness on hand, you know the corn beef isn’t something you can save so that’s gone, it was a major hit for us,” Dan Connor, Owner of Donovan’s Pub saidl
Dan goes on to say Feed the Frontlines is really what helped his business stay open and the whole experience has been incredibly rewarding.
During the summer, restaurants began to reopen in the city, a big relief for some restaurant owners in risk of losing their business. This was the chance for owners to take advantage of people finally leaving their homes and be social outside of their homes.
Restaurants were now allowed to sit customers down, but only if they offered outdoor dining. Restaurants began to place tables outside of their restaurant and some even across the street, to be able to sit more customers simultaneously while also socially distancing customers from each other. Come wintertime, restaurants were allowed to seat customers inside with a maximum of 25 percent capacity but could also continue outdoor seating.
Four Tarallucci e Vino restaurants have reopened in the city bringing back more than 100 employees. They’ve received an abundance of compliments for their work with Feed the Frontlines. Managers have displayed Feed the Frontline NYC merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies and stickers, If customers purchase a piece of merchandise you receive a free meal at any of the Tarallucci e Vino locations.
Feed the Frontlines NYC has been able raise more than $1.2 million to deliver more than 137,000 meals to over 63 hospitals across New York with the help from generous donors.
Isabella DiPietro likes to say: “We’re New Yorkers feeding New Yorkers.”
Donations can be made to:
– by Oscar Nava ’21