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Island restaurants providing food, assistance

March 25, 2020
By PAULETTE LeBLANC ( , Pine Island Eagle

In the midst of a time most are not likely to forget, where New York City streets are barren and movie theaters are empty, some Pine Island businesses are willing to take one for the team, both financially, and personally.

Mike and Morgan Miceli, owners of El Pollo Rico, are doing their best to make sure kids are getting the nutrition they need. They have given approximately 10 lunches to a local daycare and 50 to Pine Island Elementary. The lunches provided have consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a cookie, a piece of fresh fruit, string cheese, a bag of chips and a juice box.

Restaurant hours, Mike Miceli said, are subject to change again at any time, due to the national constraints placed on hospitality businesses as a result of the worldwide virus outbreak. During season, the wait staff counts on a large portion of their income from tips, which means, even though Miceli is trying to make work available, money is tight due a lack of regular restaurant hours. Miceli said soon, they will try to begin offering nighttime deliveries.

Article Photos

Happy kids give a thumbs-up on lunches from El Pollo Rico.


"I'm just doing what I can," said Miceli, "I love my community and the relationships I've built with everyone. Money is important, I get that, but if your bills are paid and their's aren't get them some food."

El Pollo Rico is at 5508 Avenue A, Bokeelia. Call 239-558-4046.

Little Lilly's Island Deli

Robin Lilly, from Little Lilly's Island Deli, said they are ramping up their grab-and-go meals, in an attempt to feed people who are currently observing the social distancing cautions. The deli is also offering a curbside pick-up for the same reason.

"As soon as we make them, they're sold," said Lilly, who also reports working much longer hours to keep things clean and people fed.

Lilly sayid although they are slow, as far as people coming through the door and eating lunch, they are more than making up for the dine-ins with their carry-outs. She also says they have reached out to some of their clientele, offering delivery service to them, and asks if their elderly relatives are in need of anything.

"A lot of our customers live here, but their family members live elsewhere," said Lilly. "But over the years, we've gotten to know the family when they've come to visit. I've been able to contact some of them and say, 'Hey, can I do anything for your dad or your grandpa?'"

She said they are more than willing to go out after work and drop off dinners to people who are in need. In a time such as this, Lilly said, they will continue to stay open until the government tells them that they have to close, adding that both the cleanliness of the deli and customer safety remain top priorities.

"If they want to eat here, we are here for them," said Lilly. "If they feel like they need to stay at home, we completely understand that too."

Little Lilly's Island Deli is at 10700 Stringfellow Road, #20, Bokeelia. Call 239-282-9264.

Island Grill

Brittany Mattia from Island Grill said, of course the pandemic is affecting business, due to constraints, and they are doing the best they can to stay open. In an effort to help families with young children, she said she used an online notification to reach out and let people know Island Grill would be giving out food and happy to help.

"It's going to be hard for parents now to feed their own kids, who usually get breakfast and lunch in school," said Mattia, "so we put an alert on Facebook and the Pine Island Prospect for anybody who knew anyone in need, to contact us and we would get them necessities, such as a gallon of milk or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - anything that we can do to help moms and dads feed their children. Our customers are our family. That's what's kept us going for as long as we have."

Island Grill is at 9856 Stringfellow Road, St. James City. Call 239-282-5502.

Woody's Waterside Grill

Eric and Tracy Zeisloft, owners of Woody's Waterside Grill, are just trying to make sense of everything. Eric said while everyone is trying to maintain distance from everyone else in an attempt to contain the worldwide virus, Woody's will be lending a helping hand with necessities. In recent posts, he not only opened their delivery truck to those unable to obtain certain things themselves, but now has a list of those things which will be available to order for those in need.

"We're wading uncharted waters at this point," he said. "A lot of people are staying in the house, but they need groceries, they need toilet paper. We're trying our best to help out in this time, the only way we can."

In addition to getting necessary items for people via their delivery truck, Eric says Woody's will also deliver those items to those who do not wish to leave their home.

"We're just taking advantage of some of the products we bring in as part of our normal business operation, that we know people can use - simple stuff like meats, cheeses, bread, milk, eggs the basics," he said.

Eric said he plans to act as a local distributor for the area in any way possible, adding that this is a difficult position for any business to be in, since this time of year is heavily counted on economically. Just as the other restaurant owners have reported, he said his business hours are likely to change, leaving the food industry, and staff up in the air temporarily. For now, he wants everyone to know they do their orders, on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, emphasizing that anyone who's been compromised or is of an age deemed dangerous for the virus, is especially encouraged to take advantage of the offer to place an order.

"We obviously want to help everybody we can," said Zeisloft. "Things like this, everybody has to get through together, to help find solutions, it's the only way to do it."

Zeisloft says the best method of contacting the restaurant is to email:



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