If you’ve passed by Dunville’s recently, you might have seen its smoker smoking away in the parking lot.
Sure, the popular Saugatuck Avenue restaurant is open for curbside pickup and delivery.
But the great meats and more it’s long been known for now feed grateful stomachs far beyond the usual customer base.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, owner Steve Carpentieri and Daniel Sullivan — owner and chef of Big Dimps BBQ in Norwalk — have partnered to feed a host of heroes.
Aided by friends in the industry who were laid off — or are still working, but offer to help — Steve and Daniel prepare and package amazing meals on site. Inside, the once-busy restaurant has been turned into a staging area.
The menu is mouth-watering: St. Louis ribs, chicken, pulled pork, smoked chicken quesadillas, double beef burgers with applewood smoked bacon, broccoli slaw, garden salads, baked beans, brownies and chocolate chip cookies.
An army of volunteers delivers the meals to all kinds of front line personnel and first responders. Recipients so far include hospitals (Norwalk, Stamford, Griffin Hospital, Vassar); police departments (Westport, Norwalk, Wilton, Fairfield, Stamford); fire departments (Westport, Norwalk Stamford); Orange County Regional Medical Center; Bridgeport Boys & Girls Clubs, and 911 operators and dispatch.
This week they’ll serve Norwalk’s Autumn Lake Healthcare, a rehabilitation facility and more police departments. They’re already planning next week’s schedule.
They’ve done it all thanks to support from the community. Social media brings in some donations; others come from people driving by. They see the big smoker, stop to see what’s going on, and make donations.
The rest of the cost is borne by Carpentieri, Sullivan and their crews. “We have the facility — which I’m paying for anyway — and the volunteers to make this happen,” the Dunville’s owner (a 1983 Staples High School graduate) says.
“It would have been a shame to let this opportunity pass us by.”
They’re closing in on 3,000 meals served. Take that, McDonald’s!