Up next: Nanni Ristorante (Rochelle Park, NJ)
My name is Rob. Avid stoolie, work in Finance and went to school at PC when barstool was blowing up about 10 years ago. Anyways, I am writing this email on behalf of my dad. My dad has owned and operated Nanni Ristorante in Rochelle Park NJ for the past 32 years. My dad is a first generation immigrant who was born in Portugal and emigrated from Brazil when he was 23 years old. My dad came here with nothing but 200 bucks in his pocket. He started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to become a chef in the late 70s and early 80s. My dad ended up getting a chance to cook as Frank Sinatra's personal chef for a bit in Palm Springs (i'll provide some photos ), thanks to his head boss at the time, Sonny Di. He even worked at Frank Sinatra's wedding. My dad became the head Maitre'D at Archers (Fort Lee NJ) which was a very famous and old world restaurant in the 70s and 80s. It was notoriously an old mob hangout and my dad would often get questioned by the FBI when mob bosses would get arrested and had Archer's matches in their pocket.
(My dad with Frank..1976)
Enough on the backstory, but this led my Dad to take stride and open up his own place in the late 80s. This has been family owned and operated ever since. My dad always sacrificed for his kids and put me and my brother through private HS and college and both my parents were always there for us. Our restaurant is open 365 days per year and my dad (now 72 years old) still works every single day to ensure that the business is up to par. Through this quarantine he continued to pay his kitchen staff (8-10 employees) and did not miss ONE PAYMENT to them, although he hasn't paid himself in months. He is a salt of the earth human being, and the amount of care in his heart is second to none. Some of our employees have been there from the start, and the 15+ people we have working for us are like our family. Almost all are immigrants who came here to live a better life. Seeing them struggle hurts me. I want nothing more than all of them to succeed.
(My dad becoming an American citizen 2016)
Unfortunately, as we know, the pandemic is something that was out of his control. Although the restaurant isn't my full time gig, I took the responsibility of helping my dad with all of the social media, grants, and government loans. I have always been there and worked through the busy seasons. Many times when my friends were out at bars during the holidays, I was with the fam working… and those are memories I will cherish. I helped work the books and figured out some ways we can save money. My dad has been open with me and letting me help BUT one thing he would not allow was cutting hours or pay for any of our staff.
I am writing to ask for money to help us with our current outstanding bills (which is the biggest out of all), our quarterly taxes, rent, outstanding sales tax, to help my dad maybe start paying himself a weekly check again and even a small hazard pay for our waiters who are currently going through a tough holiday. Overall, business is down nearly 50% with Christmas month being the worst, as it is normally our busiest time.
I would do anything for the employees of our business, and I would do anything for my dad and his business. This business molded my family and myself, and I will do anything in my power to ensure it succeeds and gets through this pandemic… and these absurd government regulations that are bleeding the industry dry. I am proud of my dad every single day, and hope one day to run the restaurant with my brother, for generations to come. Please help us, and thanks for reading my story.