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America’s First Pizzeria on the Front Lines of COVID-19 Fight

Since 1905, Lombardi’s has been serving America their iconic coal oven baked pizza. Lombardi’s has been around long enough to survive a multitude of events, including the Spanish Flu Pandemic and both World Wars. Now, the pizzeria has its eyes on beating the novel coronavirus pandemic.

As America’s first ever pizzeria, Lombardi’s is making it their obligation to feed front line workers across New York City, starting with New York University (NYU) Langone medical center and the United States Navel Ship Comfort (USNS) before leaving New York.

Lombardi's Pizza
The outside of Lombardi’s Pizza in Little Italy (photo provided by Anthony Sciarratta)

Lombardi’s is co-owned by Michael Gianmarino and Gilbert Soto. Former partner, John Brescio, who is retired, came in to supervise the generous donation. These two destinations are first on the list of Lombardi’s for a reason.

John Brescio saluting the U.S.N.S. Comfort (Photo provided by Anthony Sciarratta)

“NYU Langone saved my friend’s life,” said Brescio. “I’ll be at the restaurant personally to supervise everything is done in a timely fashion and with all the correct safety precautions.”

NYU Langone saved Dominic Dionisio’s life after he contracted the coronavirus. Dionisio, who is a dear friend of Lombardi’s, is enterally grateful to the staff at NYU and is spearheading the pizza donation on his own dime.

Lombardi’s also wanted to play its part by honoring the United States navy for their contribution in their fight against COVID-19. Lombardi’s thought the best way to support the navy was to donate pizza to the U.S.N.S. Comfort. The idea was inspired by a Navy Seal who is an avid patron of Lombardi’s.

Pizza donation
John Brescio and a solider pose for a picture after his donation (photo provided by Anthony Sciarratta)

On April 25, Lombardi’s sent 50 pizza pies to the U.S.N.S. Comfort, 35 pies to the tents set up on 218th Street (operated by the Navy) and is scheduled to send the nurses who saved his friends life 10 pizza pies on April 27 in addition to another 30 sent on the entire hospital floor.

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