Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Staten Island Eatery is Weathering the Storm and Giving Back

Jimmy Max pizzeria in Westerleigh has been doing brisk business during the pandemic, and owner Jimmy McBratney says that, thankfully, he and his staff have been spared from getting sick. While his dining room is closed, he has found ways to continue serving his customers, even offering pizza-making kits for families to try while staying home.

As he watched the crisis unfold around him, he felt the need to give back to those on the frontlines of the pandemic. He decided to offer free lunches and dinners to busy healthcare workers.

“We try to do a different hospital, either RUMC or Staten Island University every other day, and then we do a different department. We’ve done housekeeping, radiology, the ER, labor and delivery.”

He says giving back is what he and other business owners do all the time on Staten Island. And as many restaurants now struggle, he’s been impressed with how neighborhood residents across the borough have stepped-up for the hard hit restaurant community.

“We have a lot of independents on the Island. We have some chains, but, mostly independents. And those are the ones that support every little league on the Island, these are the restaurants that support every auction, every PTA function, every church function, so now the community is coming back and being very, very resourceful and supporting us.”

McBratney says locals, organizations and nonprofits are helping by ordering takeout, promoting their favorite spots and purchasing gift cards. He says he is optimistic that many hardworking businesses will survive and thrive once again.

“When we come out on the other side of this, when all the restaurants open back up again, I think people will realize, and restaurateurs, as well, that we all lead with our heart. If your heart is not in what you do, whether it’s the restaurant business or anything, you’ll be exposed as a fraud. And if you are truly that person that leads with their heart in all that you do, you’ll come out on the other side just fine.”

Photo courtesy Jimmy Max Restaurant.