Nick and Kendra Pitillo, the owners of Osteria 166 (Buffalo, NY) and Villaggio (Ellicottville, NY), started StockTheFeezer.com in March 2020 as a response to the changing world caused by the COVID-19 crisis. They could no longer run their local restaurants and takeout simply didn’t make sense for them.
They knew people still wanted their food and they thought, “What if we did meal prep with comfort food so people can make a meal when they wanted, or send meals to their family since they cannot get to them?” And the idea was born. Customers can choose from a variety of classics and family favorites, prepped and cooked fresh, then frozen immediately for delivery, as single and family-style meals.
“From day one, our whole business was built by and around family,” said Nick. “Like so many others, our business went from ‘The O Family’ to no family in the blink of an eye. This is a way for us to do what we do best, which is let our family feed our customers’ families.”
Serving food and getting their people back to work was only part of the mission though. They wanted to help feed people in the WNY area that needed it. Whether it was supplying homeless shelters, feeding healthcare workers or getting food to restaurant workers that had fallen on hard times, customers can “Donate a meal” and those meals are distributed throughout the area. The donate a meal portion of the site has become one of the most popular features. In the first 3 weeks of operation, more than 12,000 meals were donated!
“People are home with their families and the grocery stores are hectic,” Pitillo said. “This is Western New York, and we look out for one another. We’re coming together to give local families the peace of mind that a piece —or a tray—of lasagna can bring while we all weather this storm. If you don’t know what your dinner plans or options are going to look like in a few days or weeks, you can stock your family’s freezer with some of your favorite dishes. You can have Sunday dinner at your disposal when you need it.”
With its initial success, StockTheFreezer.com is expanding its offerings and other restaurants are joining the platform. They are even in discussions with restaurants outside of the WNY area.
StockTheFreezer.com is getting people in the restaurant industry back to work, providing food to families in a way that follows all of the social distancing and safety practices and bringing a little bit of normalcy to a very unique time in history.
Let us feed you.