GREENWICH, Conn. – Mark Mazzotta's experiences after Hurricane Sandy have given him confidence his Greenwich restaurant can weather just about any storm.
The owner of Pomodoro Pizzeria and Trattoria in Riverside Commons was determined to remain open and keep his food from spoiling in the aftermath of the hurricane.
While Mazzotta was simply trying to save his product, he ended up feeding hundreds of Greenwich residents.
“I really wanted to be ready. We lost power for three days for Irene. If you have an outage for two days, all the food has to go. A complete loss costs us $25,000,” Mazzotta said.
“I had a generator the size of a U-Haul behind the restaurant. I had my electrician wire everything up so we didn’t miss a beat. We had our power back up by the time we closed, and by the next morning people started showing up.”
The East Putnam Avenue eatery was one of the few Greenwich businesses to stay open throughout the aftermath of the storm. Given its proximity to Old Greenwich, arguably the hardest-hit part of town, Pomodoro had people lining up out the door and down the sidewalk for a hot meal.
“People were really understanding. We got thanked by just about everybody who came in,” Mazzotta said. “Mostly, people were good-natured and just so happy we were open.”
After two days, however, Mazzotta started running out of several ingredients, especially his meat and produce. There was no way for delivery trucks to get to him since his product came from small butchers and suppliers in the Bronx.
With the community counting on him to stay open, Mazzotta got in his car and drove to the Bronx to make sure he would be able to keep serving everything on his menu.
And despite lines out the door for several days straight, Mazzotta’s staff never waivered.
“I was really fortunate. The generator didn’t break, all my employees got here and everybody was safe,” Mazzotta said. “The entire crew worked hard and they all got really nice bonuses.”
Mazzotta’s restaurant did so well he donated five percent of his post-storm profits to the Red Cross.
The storm ended up being a strange birthday present for a restaurant that will turn 10 in January. Pomodoro recently underwent a renovation of its interior and menu.
“I really love it here. This is the best location I’ve ever had out of six restaurants I’ve run with a really loyal clientele,” he said. “People have a lot of choices for Italian restaurants in Greenwich, but we’re just trying to make people happy and stay true to our recipes.”
In addition to Pomodoro, Mazzotta also founded Amore Pizzeria and Pasta in Armonk, N.Y.