May 13, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
The owners of an Astoria pizzeria whose business was destroyed in a fire Monday are calling on the public for funds so they can rebuild.
Daisy Avraamides, who opened Retro Pizza on Broadway with her family seven years ago, launched a GoFundMe Tuesday following a fire that caused extensive damage to the electrical and plumbing systems, as well as the ceiling and equipment. The fire took place at 4:30 a.m. and there were no injuries.
Avraamides, 53, said she needs help since their insurance policy is “very basic” and they were told it “is not going to really cover anything.”
The fundraiser, which she started at the urging of customers, has already raised approximately $25,000 from 400 donors, with some residents giving as much as $500. She aims to raise $70,000 to purchase new equipment and repair the store’s infrastructure.
“I’m here 24/7 trying to make a living. We have our three kids, trying to pay their education. We’re just a family trying to survive, to do something better in life,” Avraamides said.
The family has been in the pizzeria business for decades.
Avraamides and her husband, Leo, owned a pizzeria in Manhattan 20 years ago but had to close it when Leo became ill and they moved to his home country of Cyprus.
When they returned to the U.S., they opened Retro Pizza at 41-02 Broadway, taking over a space that had previously been a deli. Avraamides said they spent the first year paying back the money they’d borrowed to get back in business. Now their three children work with them in the shop.
“The only thing we know is to make pizza,” Avraamides said.
When the pandemic struck, Avraamides said they remained open the entire time, donating pies to local police stations, Mount Sinai Hospital and to people in need.
Now it is Avraamides who is calling for help and is need.
Customers have expressed their grief following the fire and have vowed to support the pizzeria when its doors reopen.
“I’m so sorry to hear what happened, and I wish the Retro team all the best in rebuilding. I’ll be the first in line for a slice whenever you reopen!,” wrote Sarah Mastrocola on the GoFundMe page.
“You were there during the pandemic, and you need us now,” added Luis Daniel Caballeros.
“Retro is such a great part of our Astoria community! Daisy, you have watched our kids grow and taken such good care of us. We’re happy to humbly return the favor. It feels like you’ve been here a lot longer than 7 years!,” said Erin Acosta.
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