Monday, November 18, 2013

Pizzeria Toro Owners Use Disaster to Feed Hungry Kids

Not even a fire can keep Pizzeria Toro from giving back to the Durham community that helped make it a successful business.

The Toro Dreams Of… series, community dinners hosted by Pizzeria Toro and The Cookery, will debut Monday evening, November 25 at The Cookery.

The dinners, which are slated to continue twice a month until Pizzeria Toro is able to re-open from the fire damage caused to their building in early November, will each showcase a different meal theme, with 100% of the proceeds going to a charitable cause. November 25th’s event is Toro Dreams of Spaghetti, and monies earned from sales of the $25 tickets, as well as bar sales, will be donated to the PORCH-Durham Backpack Buddies Program. Tickets can be purchased at online from Pizzeria Toro and The Cookery websites beginning at 5:00 pm today, and all guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations along with their ticket.

Toro Dreams of Spaghetti will be a traditional family-style three course dinner of handmade spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread and dessert. Guests have the opportunity to purchase hand crafted cocktails, wine and craft beer at The Cookery’s Front Room bar (with all bar proceeds being donated to PORCHDurham), and will be welcomed at the end of the meal to enjoy hot cocoa fireside on the outdoor patio.

“For us, our staff and even for many of our customers Pizzeria Toro is a second home. To lose that even temporarily, has left a void,” said Jay Owens, who owns Pizzeria Toro with his partners, Gray Brooks and Cara Stacy. “This is our opportunity to gather great people together for a greater cause and get back to something we love, feeding people.”

For Triangle locals, these events are also an opportunity to enjoy fare from Pizzeria Toro’s talented chefs, in a new setting, while also contributing to locals in need. Backpack Buddies, a hunger relief program sponsored by the Interfaith Food Shuttle and supported by PORCH-Durham, collects food to fill 448 backpacks for each weekend of the school year, allowing children who might not otherwise eat to have a weekend’s supply of nourishment.

“Opening up our doors for fun and casual, yet community-focused dinners with such a talented group is exciting,” said Rochelle Johnson, who owns The Cookery with her husband, Nick Hawthorne-Johnson. “Nick and I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with the Toro crew – the mission driven series is exactly what The Cookery loves to be a part of.”

When the pizzeria’s owners learned that the fire damage in their restaurant at Downtown Durham’s 105 East Chapel Hill Street building might keep them closed for a couple months, they knew that taking a break was not an option.

“This is an opportunity for us to give back to a community that has given so much to us,” said owner Cara Stacy.

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