Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pete & Sam’s Spaghetti Giveaway

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 4:39 PM

click to enlarge A total of 550 plates of Pete & Sam's spaghetti were donated to Memphis Catholic Charities of West Tennessee.
  • A total of 550 plates of Pete & Sam's spaghetti were donated to Memphis Catholic Charities of West Tennessee.


The staggering number of unemployed people in the United States due to coronavirus led to 550 plates of Pete & Sam’s spaghetti being dispersed around Memphis on Wednesday, April 15th.

“I was driving to work looking at the unemployment number — 6 million throughout the nation filed for it,” says Michael Bomarito, an owner of the popular Memphis restaurant.



So, he says, “We need to step up and do something. We’ve been blessed with this restaurant after the fire.”

Pete & Sam’s was closed for about five months after a fire broke out early December 12th, 2017.

Then Bomarito says, “Look. If we’re going to do it, let’s cook a whole batch of sauce and give it away. We know we can knock that out very quickly in one morning.”


He contacted Memphis Catholic Charities of West Tennessee executive director Kelly Henderson, who was happy to get the spaghetti.

Bomarito wanted to cook 28 gallons of the meat sauce. “That’s one batch of our meat sauce — beef, whole tomatoes, celery, onions, spices, cheese, parmesan cheese, secret stuff we can’t share.”

click to enlarge img_1310.jpg

They cooked the pasta the night before. “We cooked 70 pounds. That’s 70 dry pounds that turns into 160 wet pounds. That’s more of a pain than making the sauce. You get big vats of boiling water of spaghetti noodles and try to get it out without scalding yourself. And you have to do that seven times.”

The sauce was made the day of the giveaway. “We got the sauce going about 5 a.m. this morning. It was ready by 10. We started plating the food around 10:30, and it was done by 11:15.”

Henderson “came with a van and picked it up,” Bomarito says.

click to enlarge Michael Bomarito, Kelly Henderson, Sammy Bomarito
  • Michael Bomarito, Kelly Henderson, Sammy Bomarito
click to enlarge img_1312.jpg

“About 200 of the meals were delivered door to door to our clients who are under our care,” Henderson says. “These are people who are formerly homeless but now have a home because of our work. And the rest of the food was distributed with our partnerships with St. Patrick’s, St. Mary’s, and St. Vincent de Paul. So, two churches and one other agency who are all serving the homeless.”


Asked how he felt about the restaurant’s gesture, Henderson says, “I thought it was a tremendous act of generosity. So many restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open and you get a random call from the owner of Pete & Sam’s saying, ‘Hey, we can make a big batch of spaghetti, and we can feed some people who rely on you.’ It really shows the solidarity of the community.”

Did Bomarito eat any of that spaghetti? “No. I looked at the last of the spaghetti and didn’t want any of it.”

click to enlarge img_1313.jpg

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