Coronavirus Kindness: Bay Area restaurants give back to community one pizza at a time

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Power of pizza: Bay Area restaurants give back in extraordinary ways
During a time when the restaurant industry is suffering, some businesses that are already struggling are going above and beyond in showing the true power of pizza all over the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- During a time when the restaurant industry is suffering, with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association predicting 50% of the eateries in the city will not reopen after the Coronavirus pandemic, some businesses that are already struggling are going above and beyond in showing the true power of pizza all over the Bay Area.

RELATED: Half of San Francisco restaurants expected to close as industry bracing for big changes during pandemic

We begin in the East Bay with Bobby and Mukti Jindal, owners of Basil Pizzaria in Oakland. These new parents and first-time restauranteurs came into the business after a life-changing turn of events.

"I was actually working at a big biotech company and used to deal with stoke medicine... and then I got a stroke." says Bobby.

For 2 weeks, Bobby was in the ICU, unsure of what the future would hold. When he finally recovered he decided he wanted to work for himself, so he quit his job and bought Basil Pizzeria in early 2020. Less than three months into their new venture the Coronavirus outbreak happened.

"It felt like nothing was going to be normal again." says Bobby's wife, Mukti.

Now it's the couple's turn to thank the doctors who saved his life. Knowing the long hours healthcare workers put in, Basil Pizzeria is providing free pizza kits for their families. Bobby and Mukti's goal? 70-donations a week.

"I feel like what goes around comes around and we're just looking forward to doing some good." smiles Mukti.

RELATED: Bay Area restaurants asking for support after accepting take-out only orders

Meantime at Blue Line Pizza, still open at its seven locations across the Bay Area an effort is underway to help those working at the many hospitals nearby. To date they've donated a thousand pizzas, all paid for, completely out of pocket by the owners.

"We just dug down and it's hard to be able to continue to do with but we've recently started accepting donations," says Angela Pace, one of the co-owners.

Since those making deliveries aren't able to make contact with any of the recipients, the restaurants have been receiving photos from front liners posing with their pizzas. That inspired owner Angela to strive for an astronomical goal.

"I would love to see 10,000 pizzas go out to people...and quite honestly extend beyond. There are frontline workers beyond healthcare workers. People at the post office or UPS drivers and grocery store...etc."

RELATED: 6 Bay Area counties extend shelter-in-place orders through end of May

Finally, to Pizza Squared in San Francisco where they have found a different way to say thanks. This time from an owner who instead of letting all of her employees go, found a way to keep them all.

"Everybody has a second job and they've all been let go from those jobs. They mean everything to me. I go to their kids Quincenera's and their talent shows and they are family. " says owner Christina Siu.

She and the team came up with an idea: new at-home Detroit-style pizza kits and hosting Zoom pizza parties. Part lesson, part way for friends and family to stay connected.

"They take care of me and I take care of them." Christina beams.

The power of pizza, so much more than dough, sauce and cheese.

To learn more about each pizzeria visit their websites here: Basil Pizzaria, Basil Pizzaria, Blueline Pizza, Pizza Squared

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