After a popular Ballston Spa eatery was destroyed by fire earlier this month, the owner is continuing to put his staff first with a little help from the community. YNN's Erin Moran has the story.
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- “It was hard. It was a hard blow for everybody to take,” said Stephanie Scottie, an employee at Augie’s Restaurant for the last eight months.
Known and loved for its family style meals, Augie's Restaurant has been sorely missed by the Ballston Spa community since the fire that destroyed the Route 50 eatery on August 5.
“We want to get back to work and we will as soon as possible. But it was a devastating fire and it's a tough pill to swallow,” said Augie Vitiello, owner of the restaurant.
With more than a dozen full and part time employees without their restaurant salaries, owner Augie Vitiello said he knew he had to do something.
He started an online campaign where customers could order package meals prepared by the staff, and come pick them up at the Elks Lodge on Monday or Tuesday evening. Throughout the two days, the fundraiser sold more than 200 meals.
“It's just amazing how people have reached out,” said Vitiello.
The Elks in Ballston Spa donated its kitchen for the two day fundraiser, and Augie's Restaurant suppliers donated the food, which meant all the proceeds could go to helping the staff.
“It really moves you and makes you feel like we're not alone in this. We'll get better and it'll be bigger and better,” said Scottie.
“The phone and the emails and it just doesn't stop. And it's a good feeling because that's what's driving us to do what we do. We're not going to hide under a rock and cry for ourselves because that's not what we do,” said Vitiello.
He said he still plans to rebuild at the original spot on Route 50. However, he has a temporary location in the works to get everyone back to work as soon as possible. He said he’s hoping to make the site announcement by the end of the week.
“I thank everybody from the bottom of our heart, and they do, because like I said the community just outpoured. It was just amazing. And we're excited for the future,” said Vitiello.