The restaurant industry has been hit hard by COVID-19. On March 15, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health issued an order for all Ohio bars and restaurants to close to in-house patrons in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
While some restaurants have chosen to close temporarily, others have shifted to offer takeout and carryout. Even more so, local chefs such as Dante Boccuzzi, Brandon Chrostowski and Vinnie Cimino have found ways to help the many servers, cooks and employees who are suddenly out of a job during this pandemic.
Boccuzzi, who owns restaurants throughout the region, including Dante and Ginko in Tremont, has been offering what he calls “Family Meals.” Through donations from customers and wholesalers such as Sysco, his team has handed out more than 1,000 free prepackaged Italian meals on several occasions since March 22. It started originally as a way to give back to the service industry, but now has shifted to serve anyone who needs a hot meal.
“It brought tears to my eyes the way we sent out a newsletter and instantly there was money coming in from customers and friends,” Boccuzzi told associate editor Dillon Stewart. “God gave us all different talents, and in our life, we’re the cooks. It’s almost our duty to provide food for the people in need.”
And though restaurant dining rooms may not be bustling right now, we hope this month’s “Take Me Home Tonight,” which highlights eateries who excel at takeout and carryout, will be a way you can give back — regardless of how big or small.
Gourmand’s Deli co-owner Greg Thomson recently shared with editorial intern Alexandria Lacayo that a frequent customer who picked up a few sandwiches at the Valley View spot left a $100 tip. It meant the world to Thomson and his staff.
“We were all in tears,” he says. “We couldn’t believe that someone cared that much about us.”
P.S. If you're looking for this year's Silver Spoon winners, you can find it here. While the annual Silver Spoon Awards event, presented by Cleveland Magazine and the Arthritis Foundation, has been suspended, we still want to recognize these restaurants along with the countless others in Northeast Ohio for their continued commitment to providing us with outstanding food, service and making us feel like parts of their families.
7:00 AM EST
April 28, 2020