Greenpoint restauranteurs and married couple Blair Papagni and Josh Cohen are offering pay-what-you-can hot meals for those in need during the coronavirus pandemic, as the issue of food insecurity worries freshly out of work people in the service sector.
“As we get further into this shutdown I think it’s going to be more difficult to get hot meals. We’re a city built on people that go out to eat, so I think there’s a good portion of our younger population here that probably doesn’t cook often, and then we have our older population that maybe can’t get out,” Papagni said.
In an effort to help those who are struggling to afford food, Papagni’s restaurant Jimmy’s Diner (577 Union Ave.) began offering 30 pay-what-you-can hot meals on Monday, which will also be offered again on Tuesday beginning at 3 p.m. The meals will be placed on a table inside of Jimmy’s Diner next to a bottle of hand sanitizer for people to take proper precautions.
Jimmy’s Diner also has extra gallons of orange juice and milk that are available for people or families that need it.
At Cohen and Papagni’s other restaurant Anella (222 Franklin St.), which reopened last year following a devastating fire, pay-what-you-can burgers and eggplant parm will be available starting at 5 p.m., and prices have been reduced on select meals as well. “We’re doing dinner for two or dinner for four and we reduced pricing about 25% – 30%. For the dinner for two we’re offering pasta and a kale caesar salad with a bottle of wine,” she said.
“I believe on a base level, that in no other time in history have we all been this connected, and unfortunately disconnected from each-other, and the only way we’re going to get through this is if we all pull together,” Papagni said.