Bronx’s Little Italy pizzeria honored for keeping front line workers fed

Councilman Fernando Cabrera presents Bella Pizzeria owner Hassan Ademaj with a citation.
Photos by Jason Cohen

One pizzeria in the Bronx’s Little Italy has been committed to keeping heroes fed in the midst of a global pandemic.

As many businesses have shuttered or struggled during COVID-19, Bella Pizza has not only stayed open but they’ve also provided food for first responders and many who cannot afford to put food on the table.

Residents told Councilman Fernando Cabrera about the generosity of the establishment at 4555 Third Ave. and last week, the lawmaker recognized them as he presented its owner Hassan Ademaj with a citation.

“Today we came to honor an unsung hero in our community,” Cabrera said. “I’m happy to present this official New York City Council citation to Hassan Ademaj, who demonstrates daily acts of kindness, love and caring for his community and all of humanity. Whether providing free food, allowing customers who don’t have enough to pay what they can, and many other gestures of giving, Hassan Ademaj embodies that ideal of treating others as we would want ourselves and our loved ones to be treated.”

Ademaj, who fled Kosovo during the war in 1998 and moved to America, has owned the pizzeria for five years. Living through such harsh times, the pizza shop owner said that he is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve.

Even if people are a little short on cash, Ademaj lets them eat at his restaurant.

“We’ve been working very hard to do the best for the community,” he said. “It’s an honor to receive the citation. When you help people you feel good.”

One of the people who told the councilman about Bella Pizzeria was real estate agent and customer Luis Vega. Vega said he admired how it has stayed open throughout the pandemic when people needed it the most.

Vega also commended the delivery man Melvin, who had been risking his life to bring customers food during the past eight months of COVID-19.

“I nominated Hassan Ademaj for this recognition because I noticed he was doing good deeds out of the kindness of his heart,” Vega said. “You seldom see people give without expecting to receive.”

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