As restaurants shutter their doors or are restricted to takeout or delivery due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Joe’s Italian Restaurant continues to operate and offer meals for first responders.
Owner Joe Haliti said he began delivery meals to first responders and essential personnel after county restrictions had shut down the restaurant’s dine-in options. He said he wanted to help first responders who are working long hours to combat the outbreak.
“I can imagine it’s not that easy fighting an enemy that you cannot even see or hear it or know where it is,” Haliti said.
Located at 1604 N. Frazier St., Conroe, the restaurant is serving upward of 48 departments, ranging from the police departments of Conroe and Shenandoah to fire departments and Montgomery County Hospital District. Haliti said he is serving about 180 first responders every day.
“Everybody’s been very appreciative,” Haliti said. “But when you consider what they do for the community and for us, it’s just like, this is nothing compared to what they do. It’s just a small gesture.”
When news of his meal delivery spread, Haliti said food provider Gordon Food Service reached out to him and offered to partner with the restaurant and help mitigate some of the costs. With the partnership, Haliti said the restaurant has been able to fulfill its orders and these donations, but if the outbreak continues, volunteers may be needed to help carry the burden.
“We’re just being concerned with everyone’s safety,” Haliti said.