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Buffalo restaurant re-invents takeout model with a charitable twist amid covid-19 shutdown

Osteria 166 & Villagio now offer fresh, then frozen homemade meals to purchase or donate to others

BUFFALO, N.Y. — During tough times, there's not much that's more comforting than a homemade meal. A Buffalo restaurant owner was able to hire his staff back while providing them to the community in a new way.

Nick Pitillo of Osteria 166 in downtown Buffalo and Villagio in Ellicottville was forced to shut down last week, when the New York State social distancing rules went into place for his industry. A few days later, he had developed a concept for a new take on takeout, with a charitable component.

His new website, StockTheFreezer.com, offers fresh, then frozen homemade Italian meals available for purchase for your family, or donate for others in need.

"The first day we were so excited, we didn't really know what was going to happen," Pitillo told 2 On Your Side. "We launched on a Friday and within the first 24 hours we had over 1,000 meals donated and roughly 1,500 meals purchased. It's been fantastic. It's really encouraging to see and we're just excited to be putting people back to work."

The donated meals will go through various agencies both in Buffalo and Cattaraugus County. 

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