It’s love in the time of the coronavirus.
And restaurateur Phil Stefani is stepping up to the plate.
Starting next week, Stefani is putting his throttle in gear and taking his free food truck on the road.
“I can’t solve this coronavirus crisis, but I can put a smile on people’s faces,” said Stefani, who has had to temporarily close 10 of his Chicago venues — which include Tuscany, Tavern On Rush, Riva, Broken English, Bar Cargo as well as his wife Karen’s Inspired Catering business.
“I think it’s in giving that one receives,” added Stefani, who tells Sneed he plans to hit the road in his glow-stick pink, wow-wow “Flamingo” food truck laden with free homemade pizza, tacos and hot dogs.
“Our first visits will be to first responders; health care workers at hospitals, police districts and firehouses,” he tells Sneed. “We’ve already delivered free pizzas to the emergency room health care workers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
“We also plan, at some juncture, to pull the truck into McCormick Place, to feed the first responders and military who are building a 3,000 bed temporary field hospital for those who may become the victim of this viral scourge,” he added.
Stefani also hopes to contact each Chicago alderman seeking advice on which neighborhood in their ward is most in need, where I can park my truck and do the most good,” he said.
“It might be next to a hospital or near an emergency room” or just an area stricken by poverty.
“We are also going to follow the rules and demand people stay six feet apart as we give out this food — using cones to separate them in the neighborhood. And our people will wear gloves and masks. Rules set forth by Gov. Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot will be followed. Our people will also wear masks and gloves.”
“I’m not going to solve the problem with one little meal, but we are going to park and feed.
“I’ve had a good run, the city has been great to me and I want to give back.”
Sneedliings . . .
Good luck and good timing! Congratulations to Kevin Carroll and his beautiful bride, Mia (nee Cameli), who by chance chose to get married in pre-Mardi Gras pageantry in New Orleans in early February — before the coronavirus shut down their much-loved town. . . . Listen up! Get-well wishes to ailing veteran Chicago Police Department homicide detective Bill Nolan, a former Fraternal Order of Police union chief. . . Saturday’s birthdays: Robert Downey Jr., 55, Natasha Lyonne, 41; and Phil Stefani, priceless. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Pharrell Williams, 47; Sterling K. Brown, 43; and Lily James, 31.