BELMAR, NJ — In most restaurants, it’s called the family meal — prepared by the chefs for the entire staff to enjoy as they begin or end their shift.
In these unsettling times, La Dolce Vita has extended this tradition of sharing to the community, offering a specially prepared meal — free of charge — twice a week to anyone in need. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, a small group of employees stand ready at the Ocean Avenue eatery to take phone orders shortly after noontime so that hot meals can be picked up around dinner time.
It’s a generous gesture that restaurateur Nick Fuccilli is more than happy to make. “The community has been very good to us, he said. “And this is our way to do something for Belmar during these difficult times — when we need a strong sense of community.”
In addition to having meals picked up at the fine dining establishment, Fuccilli said they also will be delivered to any resident who is unable to leave home. “If anyone has a loved one in Belmar who is elderly, disabled or in need, please let us know so that our staff can deliver a meal to their door,” he said.
Although there is only a small crew of kitchen and wait staff handling takeout and delivery orders six days a week, Fuccilli said his entire staff is fully supportive of the effort as they wait to return to work.
“Everyone is like family here. Many have worked here for years,” he said. “When they found out about our community family meal, they thought it was a great idea.”
And there is a way Fuccilli is including them in this effort as well. While the meals are free, a suggested price will be posted each week for anyone who wants to make a contribution in that amount — or any amount. All donations will go directly to the entire La Dolce Vita staff.
While the community family meal debut on Wednesday, April 1 with penne vodka served with plum tomatoes in a creamy, pink sauce —a restaurant favorite — the kitchen staff plans on changing up the entrée each time.
To find out what’s on the family meal menu every Tuesday and Wednesday, visit LaDolce’s Facebook or Instagram page on that day and place your orders between noon and 2 p.m. by calling 732-749-3177. Meals will be ready for curbside pick-up between 3 and 4 p.m.
Its complete lunch and dinner menus, click here, are also available for takeout or delivery from Tuesday through Sunday, between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
While Fuccilli is not sure how many family meals his restaurant will be serving up each Tuesday and Wednesday, he’s ready to meet the need — regardless of the numbers.
“This is easy for us to do,” he said. “We’re blessed to be able to be working and to be able to give back to the community.”
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