Staten Island Restaurants Turn To GoFundMe For Help


NEW YORK – “If you feed them, they will come,” read a sign inside the Project Brunch restaurant on Staten Island.
The restaurant, famous for its seven-day-a-week brunch menu with quirky waffles and decadent drinks, has seen better days.

What would you like to know

  • Project Brunch and Bin 5 on Staten Island launched GoFundMe pages to try to stay alive
  • Both restaurants say they made the most of alfresco dining, take-out and indoor dining while they could
  • Indoor dining restrictions, cold temperatures, fears of contracting coronavirus are just a few factors that have plagued New York restaurants
  • Without federal government assistance or meeting their fundraising goals, these restaurants fear they will close permanently

Forced to close a location on the north coast due to the coronavirus pandemic, its location on the south shore, the brand’s first, is now dangerously close to closure.
“It’s really hard to keep our business open when we don’t have much to come,” said the mother of Alexa Mazza, owner of Project Brunch.

Once crowded with patrons willing to wait two hours to eat, Project Brunch has grown into a cult following since it opened in 2016. Take-out and alfresco dining, and possibly indoor dining, have brought faith that the restaurant would succeed.

Then came the “orange zone” designation last week due to the high rate of positive COVID-19 cases in the neighborhood. The restaurant was forced to close the indoor dining room.

Having no idea when they can reopen, the owners launched a GoFundMe page in a last ditch effort to stay alive.

“We’re just in this position where I don’t know how long restaurants are going to be able to last without any relief, without opening,” Mazza told NY1.

It’s a similar story across the island, at ferry 5.

Opened in 2011 as a fine-dining restaurant for a neighborhood that had never seen such culinary concepts before, Bin 5 has been trying to reinvent itself since March, testing heartwarming menus and offering artisan cocktails to go.

But last weekend the restaurant only served 12 Thanksgiving dinners up from 120 last year, prompting owner Danny Ippolito to search a GoFundMe page as well.

“I don’t see how we can really pay the bills much longer with these systems in place,” he told NY1.

Indoor dining restrictions, cold temperatures and fears of contracting the virus are just a few factors that have plagued restaurants in the city. Ippolito says he’s heartbroken to think about the shutdown.

“Without the individual personalities of Staten Island restaurants – without the ability to be creative – Staten Island is dark now,” he said. “The lines for urgent care are long and the lines for restaurants are short.”

Bin 5’s GoFundMe has already raised over $ 11,000 since launching three days ago. With no help from the federal government or short of a funding target of $ 150,000, Ippolito says he doesn’t know how long it will last.


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