Dec. 24, 2020 By Allie Griffin
An Italian restaurant in Astoria received a $100,000 in donations just in time for the holidays, after its owner posted a viral video of himself dining outside in last week’s snowstorm.
The video posted by Trattoria L’Incontro owner and chef Rocco Sacramone grabbed the attention of Dave Portnoy, founder of the online sports & pop culture website Barstool Sports.
Portnoy, known for his “one bite” pizza review videos, paid Trattoria L’Incontro a visit the day after the snowstorm and dined outside with Sacramone.
He gave the eatery’s pizza an 8.4 and spoke with Sacramone about the video he posted in the snowstorm and the struggle to run a business during the pandemic.
The restaurateur said he posted the video to bring attention to the difficulty of outdoor dining in the winter. The state closed down indoor dining in the city earlier this month.
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“I wanted to bring the point across that to dine outside [in the winter], it’s almost impossible,” Sacramone said about the video.
The chef said he has had to let go the majority of his staff as the restaurant has moved to mostly take-out and delivery, with very limited outdoor seating. He went from 40 employees to just five, as of last week.
“My heart bleeds for my staff here because Sunday I let go about 13 or 14 guys from the dining room,” Sacramone told Portnoy in a video. “I was like an empty shell — just terrible.”
December is typically the busiest month of the year for the restaurant — which has served Astoria diners since 1999 — but now business is down 70 percent, Sacramone said.
Portnoy, who recently started “The Barstool Fund” to raise money for small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, offered to help Sacramone.
He mobilized the Barstool fanbase and raised $100,000 for Trattoria L’Incontro through its fundraiser in just days.
“I am happy to help Rocco and L’Incontro through the Barstool Fund — his story and everything his restaurant stands for is what and who we are trying to help with this,” Portnoy told Patch, which was first to report the story. “I’m glad we could step in and bring light to his story and many other small businesses that are dying and struggling.”
Sacramone said he didn’t know what to say about the donations. He thanked Portnoy and said he wanted to cry.
To date, The Barstool Fund has raised more than $3 million to split between ten small businesses across the country.
Our government officials,
Governor, mayor, etc…
are making money
hand over fist.
Unless i missed something along the way,
I don’t see them cutting their
hefty salaries, nor benefits,
I’m sure that the day will
come when the governor
and mayor will raise our taxes.
They will need our money
for all the upstate towns
that rely on our great city’s
to keep supporting them.
With so many people and small businesses struggling,
may I ask why our government
is continuing to spend tax
dollars on bicycle lanes???
Must be allot of
money floating around
New York is be destroy by our governor and mayor in the city we have 3 gallery that we do not sale for days a one dollar
The Barstool Fund – thank you for helping Rocco and L’Incontro. Please continue to help NYC restaurants in Astoria. God Bless us All. Happy Holidays!!
Keep voting Democrat! They are working for you!!!
Let them open. Close Bars and Gyms. My opinion.
It’s great that Rocco got the money and gave his 30-40 employees $1000 each – however that leaves 60K +/- …..would have been realcool if he also helped out some of the smaller neighbors who really are not his competition – would have REALLY shown community spirt.
It is so upsetting to see our
restaurants suffering so.
Our government, local,
state, and federal were caught
You think that government
would had been better
prepared, had an emergency plan for catastrophes.
City and state catastrophic insurance or something,
especially since the
World Trade Center disaster,
although it was many years ago,
I remember that day, and the months that followed,
all to well.
You would think our
government would had better learned from this.
I am so happy that Rocco
had received this funding,
his restaurant has served
our community well for so
Not only are our restaurants
suffering financially from
not being able to have people
dine indoors, our restaurants
are financially suffering
from so many people having
lost their jobs, struggling
with their financial problems.
Our city is such a mess
and I am sad to say that
I can’t picture the day
that our city will come back
to where it was,
before this monster virus
had reared it’s ugly head.
I must compliment every
New Yorker in their
Let’s hope for a miracle, sooner than later,
so that we can start to heal.
I miss our old normal.
Rocco and everyone of us,
keep the faith!
It’s time to oust our communist leaders
I find this disgusting that they give one restaurant MONEY as though this restaurant is something special.There are so many other restaurants just as bad and I don’t see anyone giving them money!!! The owner sitting outside was just a publicity act, that’s all! How about a Mexican or Spanish restaurant getting some kind of help besides an ITALIAN restaurant.
So glad to hear this. So many small businesses daying.Good for them.
I know Rocco and his restaurant and I feel for him and his employees. It’s a good restaurant and he is a good person. This administration Cuomo and deblasio are doing everything to destroy small businesses. Rocco deserves every dollar he received in donations to keep his business afloat. Thank you barstool fund you have a heart. Hope other small businesses can benefit too. Merry Christmas.
Cuomo its such a great wonderful governor please be understanding he is caring for our well being
People in NY need to REMEMBER …. during election how to vote.
Deblasio and Cuomo prove them shelves. They simply don’t care.
My heart to all of those in need
L’Incontro has been closing for years. I’m pleased to see it’s survived so far.
I hope that Cuomo understands that he may destroy this mans livelihood, but he can never destroy this mans resolve and spirit. I bet this man started with nothing and made something. Not like the political type who start with Other People’s Money (something) and make nothing. Mr.Cuomo must have forgotten where his grandfather worked and started his own little business in Jamaica ,Queens New York..Mr Cuomo is fortunate that his father grandfather and father was born before he him.
Love it !!! 💖 🥂🍾🍜
Any thoughts toward the purchase of an outdoor heater / fire pit ? 🧊🔥
This is a gimmick. Even through the pandemic one couldn’t book a table here as they were always full. There are businesses much more in need.
God bless! Kinda wish the government would think about this
Really… build an outdoor seating area like any other restaurant. Yeah it sucks, everyone is struggling. But here’s an idea… lower your prices and maybe more people may just order the food for delivery. How about eating in the rain then… the s ow is gone and if there is more, it’s temporary, there is more to this than just sitting out asking for sympathy.