Eddie Sujak, owner of Tosca Marquee on East Tremont Avenue, has been inviting seniors from Throgs Neck Extended Care to eat on the house since last spring.
Anytime the seniors offered tried to pay, Sujak refused, so they did the next best thing and gave him an award. Throgs Neck Extended Care Facility Nursing Home welcomed Sujak on Thursday, May 12 and presented him with a plaque in recognition of the monthly Italian meals he has been serving to its residents.
Sujak developed the idea to work with seniors from his daughter, who volunteers at nursing homes. Given the proximity of TNEC’s Throgs Neck Expressway building to his restaurant, the group was a perfect fit.
“I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I could do this.” Sujak said. “So I invited them to come once a month. It’s some sight to see. A lot of the seniors can’t really walk, but when they’re there, they know it was worth the effort.”
Sujak also opened Tosca Cafe in 1999. He said he chose the original location because it had a coal oven, which is a rarity in New York City. The cafe specializes in pizza and catering, plus it has a bar/lounge area.
Carol Dilg has a mother living at TNEC and is president of the home’s Friend’s and Family Council. She said the relationship with Sujak is an example of what makes TNEC unique.
“We’re like a big family,” she said. “We love everyone that works here. It’s not like any other nursing home.”
The trips started last May and were a way for TNEC residents to enjoy a day ooutside and feel involved in the surrounding community.
When the weather turned cold in October, Sujak sent monthly trays of food over instead. Now tthat the weather is warming up, the seniors have already planned a June stop.
TNEC seniors already have their warm weather return to Tosca Marquee planned for June.
TNEC administrator Jody Bonura said the food at Tosca perfectly fits the demographics of her residents.
“This is a very Italian neighborhood, and our population reflects that,” Bonura said. “So this is really what they’re used to, and they go all out.”
Since the TNEC residents have been having food delivered, the staff rotates which floor gets to host the monthly feast. However, when they went out last summer, there was some competition over who got one of the coveted spots on the bus.
“Some people manage to go a lot,” Bonura said. “They squeeze in. But if Eddie could take them all, he would.”
©2011 Community News Group