Hurricane Sandy Foodservice Relief

Vendors Ready to Help Post Hurricane Sandy


Restaurant Re-Opening Guidelines from NYSRA

The following guidelines are for restaurants and other food service establishments affected by Hurricane Sandy either due to flooding, power outages or food contamination. Please review these guidelines carefully when restoring your facility for operations. If you have any questions, please contact the Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation by telephone or email. A directory of staff and their contact information may be found at the end of this document.


Women’s Foodservice Forum February 2019 728×90

Food service establishments should have power restored before resuming operations. Some clean-up, particularly removing and discarding spoiled food, destroyed equipment and water damaged furnishings may begin immediately.


Food that has been exposed to flood water, including sealed and open packages, boxes, cans, produce and meat must be discarded to avoid foodborne illness. Boxes must be opened and the food denatured and discarded. If you remove the labels from canned products, you may wash and sanitize the cans twice before opening and using the product. Potentially hazardous food that was not flooded, but reached temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or above, must be denatured and discarded. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Meat (beef, poultry, lamb, seafood, etc.)
  • Milk, cream, cream based preparations
  • Soups, stews, casseroles or similar prepared dishes.

If power was restored to your facility before you returned, the refrigeration units and the food within them may have returned to safe temperatures. However, it is likely that the food has been out of temperature for long lengths of time, allowing
bacteria and other pathogens that can cause foodborne illness to grow. Heat treatment may not be sufficient to render this food safe, so please denature and discard these potentially hazardous items. Pouring bleach or a colored detergent on food (add food coloring if possible) is an acceptable way to denature food, an essential practice to assure the food is not salvaged


Thoroughly clean and sanitize all equipment that may have been exposed to contamination. Refrigerators and freezers and other equipment with fiberglass insulation must be checked to see if the insulation was exposed to flood water. If it was exposed, it must be removed and replaced. Styrofoam or closed cell polyurethane insulation may be cleaned but it is best to check with the manufacturer. A licensed electrician should thoroughly inspect electrical components (including wiring, compressors and switches) to determine if they should be replaced. Check water heaters particularly if flood water got into the gas burner, electrical parts or insulation.


If walk-ins have been flooded, the floors and walls should be cleaned and sanitized. If flood waters rose above panels with holes are otherwise not intact, the panel should be replaced. Those with wood floors will need to have the flooring replaced.


Porous or absorbent furniture and fixtures should be discarded if they have come in contact with flood water. This includes upholstered furniture, tables and booths that cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized. Paper and disposable products that have been in contact with flood water should also be discarded.


Sheetrock, insulation or ceiling tiles that have been soaked by flood waters should be removed to at least 30 inches above the waterline. Paneling may be removed and saved but air should circulate around wall cavities to dry the studs and the sills, which do not have to be replaced if dried properly. Flooded portions of studs and sills should be treated with a biocide such as a bleach and water solution to avoid mold or mildew growth.


You should remove linoleum or tile that has been flooded to clean and dry wooden subfloors. This will prevent mold growth in the future. If this cannot be done immediately, you may clean and sanitize the area and replace the flooring at a later date. If flooring is on a concrete slab, only damaged or loose tiles need to be removed. Linoleum or vinyl tile may be saved if you can clean and sanitize them. Carpeting, padding or foam rubber, including padding under tiles, must be thrown away if soaked by flood waters.


Duct work for heat or air conditioning that was submerged need to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. You will need to replace sections of duct where this is not possible. Insulation around duct work or ducts made of compressed fiberglass must be replaced.

(347) 396-2105 / (347) 396-2153 / (347) 396-2135 / (347) 396-2133


November 6

Rizzuto’s Restaurant Group continues their Hurricane Relief Initiative at all 4 restaurant locations throughout Connecticut.
In conjunction with relief organizations throughout the New York area, Rizzuto’s has recently updated the request list to include:

  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Baby Diapers and Supplies
  • Advil / Tylenol for Adults & Children
  • Work Gloves and Boots
  • Blankets, Sweatshirts
  • Warm outerwear: Coats, Scarves, Gloves, Hats
  • Contractor Bags
  • Candles / Lanterns
  • Bleach / Cleaning Supplies
  • Shovels / Rakes
  • Disposable Plates & Utensils

A Friday drop-off date to those areas hard hit by Sandy is scheduled and people can drop off their items until Thursday afternoon at any Rizzuto’s location.
Response has been overwhelming and additional efforts are being planned.


1980 West Main St.
Stamford, CT 06902
Phone 203.324.5900

540 Riverside Avenue
Westport, CT 06880
Phone 203.221.1002

6 Stony Hill Rd
Bethel, CT 06801
Phone 203.790.4444

111 Memorial Rd
West Hartford, CT 06107
Phone 860.232.5000


Restaurant & Foodservice Safety Tips

To all foodservice operators in areas impacted by Sandy:

Following severe weather events that involve electrical and water interruptions or contamination stores often experience extensive equipment failures.  Most of these failures can be avoided by following proper shutdown and restart procedures.

There are two primary causes of damage:

  1. Electrical Interruption:  Most of the equipment in use today involves sophisticated and expensive circuit boards and other electrical components that will fail when subject to electrical surges.  It is most common that municipalities restoring power will experience intermittent power and surges in power before reliable power is fully restored.  It is critical that during power outages all electrical equipment is turned off or, preferably, unplugged.
  2. Water Supply Interruptions and Contamination:  Water sources are often interrupted and frequently contaminated by storm surge and flooding.  Water filtration systems will frequently become fouled and/or plugged up.  Filters may need to be changed to eliminate fouled filters or to restore proper water pressure before restarting equipment that relies on water source.  Failure to establish proper water pressure prior to returning equipment to service can result in damage to components that rely of water pressure as described below.


Electrical Procedures

The most important issue is to disconnect the power source from equipment until power has been fully restored and is reliable.  Surging and inconsistent power will cause material damage to many of the most expensive components in equipment with computer/digital controls and also may damage motors, pumps and other components.  Many units will need to have their setting adjusted for changes in power supply, especially Slurpee machines.  To avoid such issues and minimize costs, please follow the following procedures:

  1. Disconnect all electrical equipment (turn off if you cannot disconnect).  Do not reconnect power until sure the power supply is permanently restored.
  2. After power is reliably restored, verify that all other requirements for operating the equipment is met.  This may include syrup (BIB), CO2, water pressure, and uncontaminated water supply.

Remember that much of the equipment is 220 volts and it is very possible for the site to have only one leg (110v) working.  This will allow the unit to start, but not operate properly.  Any clues that the site does not have 100% proper electric (some store lights not operational, multiple pieces of equipment not operating properly at the same time, strange noises from equipment), the units should be shut down, and an electrician called.

Also, share any site information with the tech immediately on arrival, to help reduce diagnostic time.  If they know the site lost power, or the local power authorities were making repairs on the block, or there was flooding, even if they don't think it is related, they should share the information immediately.

  • Restart the equipment following manufacturer’s procedures.


Water Related Issues

Besides electrical issues, here are some items to check on the store equipment that can help reduce the equipment failures when starting up.

  • Most Carbonated Beverage:  Any operation for even a brief time will damage the carbonator pump if there is not sufficient water pressure feeding the carbonator pump unit.   Do not operate or power on any Post Mix equipment with the store water supply not operating or turned on.
  • Water Filter systems:  Any major disturbances in the municipal water supply will probably result in excess loading of the existing water filter cartridges. This will require flushing the water filter manifold at a high rate of flow and then followed by replacing the filter cartridges.

The NYC New Business Acceleration Team (NBAT) is working with other City agencies to assist food and beverage establishments impacted by Hurricane Sandy. If you are in the food and beverage industry, an NBAT client manager is available to help you assess what services you may need from the City to help you recover. Whether you need financial assistance, a visit from an inspector to help ensure your premise is safe or help understanding the City processes, NBAT is here to help. Call us at (212) 788-6722.


Department of Health

Restaurant Re-opening Guidelines Following Hurricane Sandy.
The following guidelines are for restaurants and other food service establishments affected by Hurricane Sandy either due to flooding, power outages or food contamination.

Emergency Guidelines for Operating a Food Service Establishment Without Electrical Service


NYC Department of Small Business Services

Here is a list of tips for businesses recovering from damage and disruption to businesses due to Hurricane Sandy.


Hurricane Sandy Business Recovery Information

NYC is coordinating a set of services to assist small businesses in recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Click this link to learn about available loans, rebuilding and other important assistance information.


Federal Aid Programs for Disaster Recovery

Click here for information from the Federal Small Business Administration on disaster recovery assistance.


IRS and Tax Filing

IRS Gives Additional Time to Taxpayers and Preparers Affected by Hurricane Sandy; File and Pay by Nov. 7

Countless New Yorker's have been impacted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. It's no surprise that NYC restaurants and hospitality businesses have already stepped up to serve their neighborhoods by donatingfood and offering other support, even while many of them are rebuilding andseeking support themselves. If your business is interested and able to assist in any of the relief efforts please consider the following options:


NYC Restaurants Grapple With Superstorm Aftermath

By J.M. HIRSCH, AP Food Editor

Leah Tinari knew by smell alone that Superstorm Sandy had devastated her Lower East Side eatery, Fatta Cuckoo.

As the epic storm barreled down on Manhattan, Tinari's basement refrigerators were stacked high with beef spareribs, pork tenderloin, scallops, imported Gorgonzola. By Monday, relief that her 28-seat restaurant had been spared any flooding quickly turned to loss.

“When we got there, you could already smell the stuff in the refrigerators,” she said during a telephone interview Friday.

The trick was turning loss into silver lining. With battery-powered lights strung up over her gas stove, Tinari worked with what little she could salvage or buy — bread, cheese, onions and potatoes, mostly — to restore some semblance of normalcy. By 1 p.m. Thursday, she was open for business. Albeit limited.

Grilled cheese sandwiches with apples and caramelized onions. Egg drop soup. Mulled ciders. Beer. And everything on the menu was $5.

“We just wanted to offer warm, homey, delicious stuff so people could come in and either eat or get drunk,” she said with a laugh.

Large swaths of New York City's normally robust, trend-setting restaurant scene was hobbled this week by the storm, some by flooding, others by days without power — and thus refrigeration. Daniel Boulud's DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Tom Colicchio's Craft and Colicchio & Sons, Mario Batali's massive culinary landmark Eataly — all struggled to reopen days after the onset of the storm.

But even those spared the storm's direct wrath were challenged.

For much of the week, the city's public transit system was crippled, leaving even restaurants with electricity struggling to get workers to  the job. David Burke, the man behind more than half a dozen restaurants including Fishtail and David Burke Kitchen, put some employees up at hotels in order to keep them on the job.

Burke, who estimates he lost at least $35,000 worth of food across his restaurants, said he and his staffs quickly created a triage system, shuttling food from restaurants closed or evacuated to those that still had power.

In the midst of it all, his chefs have been making soup and sandwiches for emergency responders. And this weekend, they will use a company truck to begin regular deliveries of sandwiches to residents and emergency workers on Staten Island, with plans to expand to other hard hit areas as needed.

At the critically acclaimed West Village hotspot Tertulia, Seamus Mullen has been balancing his own storm challenges — no flooding, but also no power — with trying to help others, even delivering ice to other restaurants.

“We've been open every night. I've been getting black market dry ice and getting bags of regular ice from anyone I can to keep our product from spoiling,” Mullen said Friday. “We've been opening just by candlelight. And just two burners in the kitchen and a limited menu. I've got all my cooks wearing flashlights.”

Mullen also has joined forces with a trio of other high-wattage chefs — George Mendes of Aldea, Marco Canora of Hearth and Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde — to launch the charity NYC FoodFlood to help feed those affected. The charity kicks off with a $300-a-plate fundraising dinner at Aldea on Wednesday. The money will be used to rent and staff a food truck to bring meals to the storm-struck outer boroughs.

Eddie Huang, the force behind the cultishly popular Baohaus on the Lower East Side, decided to quite literally wait out the storm. After feeding his staff and sending them home with as much food as they could take, he shut down to wait for power to be restored.

“It's been really tough, but I think it's a situation where doing less is more,” he said, noting it would have taken hours for some of his staff  to get to work had he tried to open. “We tried to go get ice, but by the time you get back you're tired as hell, your staff is exhausted, and  why? So you can ice things until Friday and then do it again?”

At superstar pizza shop Motorino East Village — whose website announced “WE'RE OPEN! No electricity, no problem.” — the pizza rolled on.

Thanks to the shop's wood-fired oven and plenty of candlelight, manager Charlie Marshall says they were able to reopen. The challenge was getting out the word. Marshall said most people assumed they were closed.

“So we got some sidewalk chalk and wrote 'We're open!' signs with arrows pointing to us” on sidewalks in a several block radius, said Marshall, adding that sales on Friday were donated to the Red Cross.

Still, some worry about the long term toll on the industry and its workers. Beyond the initial loss of product and damage to property, the ongoing lack of business doesn't lessen the need to pay overhead. And hourly employees don't get paid if they can't get to work, or if there is no work to get to.

Max Falkowitz, editor of the restaurant-centric website Serious Eats: New York, urged people to patronize restaurants as much as possible, saying in a post on Friday that “eating out right now is essentially an act of public service.”

Still, Mullen was optimistic. “It's going to take a while for business to return to normal. But New York restaurants are really resilient. Some restaurants won't make it, but I'm confident most of us will.”