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Astoria Restaurant Gets $100,000 After Video Goes Viral

Trattoria L’Incontro owner and chef Rocco Sacramone (L) and Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy (Trattoria L’Incontro/ Instagram)

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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A post shared by Trattoria L’incontro (@trattoria_lincontro)

“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.

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10 Comments

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🍻🍕🥗🍝

Its a testament to the restaurant and its owner that people are willing to donate money to help the business through this rough time.
Most people cant donate right now so it says something about how the establishment is loved.

Good luck!

Reply
Linda Rogers

I am a 66 yr old retired R,N. I grew up in Sunnyside,Queens. Our favorite restaurant was the Italian restaurant “The Bank”, also located in Astoria. We ate there every Friday night when I was growing up!! It was the best, except for my Italian grandmas cooking !!!!!

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ABoondy

not all of us make a six figure salary that allows such lavish luxuries. many of us took a salary cut just to be able to keep our lousy jobs and even lousier super expensive medical insurance.

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Buzz words are not fact

You obviously don’t know the meaning of socialized healthcare. Kindly, look it up and stop spreading lies and misinformation.

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It's distributing taxpayer wealth

So yeah the definition of socialism. You can google what it means!

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Barbara

Back then your typical local resident and family could afford to go out and eat. They use to cater highly to local families and residents. Nowadays they cater to many visitors and tourists from LGA airport who find Astoria dining cheaper than Manhatten and parts of Brooklyn. We would go out to eat weekly. Now most of us who stayed behind trying to build lives here are finding it too expensive. Thank goodness our moms taught us how to cook and for so many we are all so grateful for the food banks.

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