In the wake of the pandemic, the owners of Uncle Paul’s Pizza were forced to temporarily shutter four of their sister restaurants.
At the same time, they pledged to donate free lunch and dinner to New York’s first responders every day for the next two weeks.
“Business is hurting beyond belief, but we’re all hurting right now.” owner Dino Redzic told The Sauce. “We can’t help people at the hospital, or in the streets. We’re not doctors, nurses, paramedics, police officers, or firefighters, but we want to help them however we can.”
In that spirit, Redzic and partners Nick Krkuti and Paul Nicaj mobilized quickly. Less than 24 hours after conferring with the leadership team – Redzic’s children Donna and Eddie and Krkuti’s kids, Leo and Benny – they were ready to roll with over 1,000 meals for NYC’s heroes.
This isn’t the first time that they’ve stepped up in a time of crisis. After 9/11, Redzic donated countless meals to ground zero’s first responders, even though his shop was hemorrhaging cash. Once again, Redzic says he’s ready to back New York’s heroes, no matter the cost. And, once again, he has the support of generous everyday people from far and wide. Donations are coming in “every other minute,” he says, before excusing himself for a moment to take another call.
The family-owned operation hasn’t forgotten to take care of their own, either.
“A few of our [furloughed] guys needed money for rent, plus bills that are even more essential. We gave them small loans, interest free,” Redzic said. “We don’t know when the other restaurants will reopen, but when they do, we’ve guaranteed them employment.”
Redzic doesn’t know what the future holds, though he’s encouraged by the altruism of everyday people and the bravery of those on the frontline.
“What’s going on is not normal, but get through it,” Redzic said. “If we all do our part, we will prevail.”