As a way to keep his businesses in business, and the community fed, Nick Pitillo (owner of Osteria 166 in Buffalo and Villaggio in Ellicottville) is getting inventive. He recently launched a new meal delivery service out of his downtown restaurant in response to the COVID-19 virus.
Pitillo’s new delivery business, called Stock The Freezer, was established to allow people to have restaurant quality meals at home, by simply thawing out and heating up single-serve portions of some of his favorite Italian recipes. To ensure that the meals are as fresh as possible, they are cooked upon order, and then frozen and delivered directly to people’s homes. Each meal come with directions on how to prepare the dish. Orders over $50 are delivered free of charge within 48 hours.
Pitillo says that his new business concept is a direct answer to the crisis at hand. As families scramble to source grocery items, attempting to come up with their own day to day eating routines, he is offering a way to “take a breather” during these stressful times.
“From day one, our whole business was built by and around family,” said Nick Pitillo, owner of both restaurants. “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 do what we do best, which is let our family feed our customers’ families.”
This is a way for us do what we do best, which is let our family feed our customers’ families.
As for the dishes, Pitillo has added a number of his customers’ favorite dishes, along with some of his family favorites, including wholesome and hardy lasagnas, pasta, meatballs, sauce, soup, appetizers, and even dessert and wine. Customers can choose vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, as well as $15 house wines by the bottle.
The dishes are available from single-serve portions to family dinners. All meals are $8, which is a pretty good deal considering it’s restaurant quality food.
“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.”
You can have Sunday dinner at your disposal when you need it.
To make ordering the meals even more accessible to the entire community, Pitillo has added a couple of conveniences. There is a feature where people can have meals delivered for family members living outside of the immediate home (or even for friends, along with a personal note), and there is another feature that allows people to donate meals to local food pantries and others in need. At this point, 168 meals have been donated!
Starting Tuesday, March 24, Pitillo will begin delivering within a 30 mile radius of Osteria 166—166 Franklin St, Buffalo, NY. From there, he plans to extend the delivery program to a 30 mile radius of Villaggio in Ellicottville. The site is currently accepting and processing orders, as it ramps up to begin delivery to homes all over Buffalo.
“Even though our customers can’t enjoy the restaurants in person right now, we want them to know their ‘O Family’ is still here for them,” Pitillo added. “Our people are ready to go.”
Lead image: Members of the Nick Pitillo’s family are pitching in, including his daughter, and his mother (far right)