Formula shortages and how Staten Island restaurants are stepping up to help | Pamela’s Food Service Diary

STATEN ISLAND, NY – A restaurant owner’s expertise lies in sourcing food. This question might be well illustrated by an idea that came to Richie Holmes, owner of Juicy Lucy in Ocean Breeze and Eltingville, as well as DiFara Pizza-Juicy Lucia in Grant City.

While in New Jersey shopping, he came across a massive supply of baby formula.

“So we decided to donate $2,000 worth of formula to the Staten Islanders. It would be nice if people could also drop off the formula at restaurants for someone who needs it — obviously a new, sealed formula with an appropriate expiration date,” Holmes said.

He spread the word on Facebook and was devastated by the response: fairly quickly, he received around 500 inbox messages asking for help. What came to mind when reading the notes was how the product costs an average of $40 a container. So not only does he hope to stock a pantry, but also ease the financial burden on the average family a bit.

BABY ESSENTIALS IN ‘THE TWILIGHT ZONE’

Days into the effort, Holmes called friends from the restaurant — friends from Joyce’s Tavern in Eltingville and Carmine Gualtieri from The Pizza Parlors, Richmond Republic, Wynwood Cafe and District — and they’re also on board to help. collection.

“We’re in the twilight zone now,” Holmes said of the shortage of the basic baby item. “We are talking about babies here. And we’re not looking for people to hoard pallets of stuff – just to buy a box or two – in places where they see there’s a huge supply.

Joe O’Toole of Joyce’s Tavern spoke on behalf of the O’Toole family. He said they were happy to help Richie with the idea, although he admitted to never imagining the likes of Infamil in offerings among burgers and corned beef platters.

He said: “Richie always turns restaurants into a place where people come for help. We are happy to be part of it. We like the idea of ​​a few local restaurateurs always offering solutions and a helping hand. »

Food is serious business for industry players, a sentiment that often goes beyond business.

“One thing I’ve learned from the pandemic is to really appreciate your neighborhood, the people who bring your business to life,” said Joanne Meurer of West Cork Union Hall in West Brighton.

“If anyone survived that time, it was courage and loyalty – and giving something back to a community that was hurting so much and was so insecure,” she said. Sharing baby formula is just another practice of love coming from the restaurant community in times of need, Meurer said.

“It’s for infants. As long as it takes, I will,” Holmes said.

It is suggested that you call the restaurant first to ensure the availability of any product needed for pickup. Donations and pickups are available during business hours at Juicy Lucy at Ocean Breeze at 809 Fr. Capodanno Boulevard, 718-979-1888; Juicy Lucy in Eltingville at 4318 Amboy Rd., 718-317-7427; Annadale District at 2 Sneden Lane, 718-984-3700; The Pizza Parlor North in Meiers Corners at 965 Jewett Ave., 718-448-7700; Joyce’s Tavern in Eltingville at 3823 Richmond Ave., 718-948-0220.

Pamela Silvestri is editor-in-chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at [email protected].

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