Like much of Coney Island, the famous Coney Island pizzeria, Totonno’s (1524 Neptune Avenue), was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. As we reported on our sister site, Sheepshead Bites, Totonno’s owners Cookie Cimineri and Antoinette Balzano face a steep financial climb back to reopening its doors. Well, thanks to the generosity of famed chef and author Daniel Patterson, Totonno’s is $5,000 closer to its goal of firing up its magical brick oven, according to a report by Zagat.
Patterson, best known for his fancy San Francisco restaurant Coi, originally held a benefit for Governor, a Brooklyn based fine-dining establishment that was also destroyed by Sandy. When word got back to Patterson that Governor was closing its doors for good, he decided to funnel the proceeds he raised from the Governor benefit to Totonno’s, based on a plea from Totonno’s lover Allison Robicelli, who grabbed Patterson’s ear. Patterson expressed modesty in the face of his generous donation:
“My staff came and worked on their day off—I should not be getting credit! Seriously, no big deal. We’re all happy to help. That’s what people do for each other, right? Totonno’s is amazing. I just wish I could do more. Relying on fine dining restaurants to fill in the gaps left by the government in times of crisis is kind of a joke, but we did our best.”
Hopefully, Patterson’s contribution will go a long way in helping Totonno’s get back on its feet.