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Garden Social lends a hand to small businesses


The owners of Garden Social, in East Meadow, are pulling up a stool at the bar to help small businesses facing difficulty throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

From Jan. 4 to Feb. 7, they’re donating $20 with every $100 gift card purchased to the Barstool Fund. They’re also donating ten percent of their proceeds from every Tuesday night. So far, they have raised nearly $1,000.

“We’ve been blessed that we’ve had patrons come in and support us on a day-to-day business, however others have not been as fortunate across the country and our really struggling,” Boller said in a video on the restaurant’s Facebook page announcing the fundraiser.

Dave Portnoy, founder of the digital media company Barstool Sports, recently launched his own Covid-19 relief fund — dubbed the Barstool Fund — to help small businesses that are struggling to stay open. In a video on his Twitter page, he announced that Borrelli’s Italian Restaurant, in East Meadow, would be the first to benefit.

Portnoy explained that he saw little to no help coming from the federal or state government to New York businesses that had to continue adapting to new coronavirus restrictions.

“These people aren’t going out of business because they’re not successful or not making money, it’s because they have no other choice,” he said. “They’ve been dealt a hand that nobody could play.”

Portnoy seeded the program with $500,000, and is crowd-funding to expand it.

“We want to get behind that and help that and we want to give our patrons a chance to also support that,” said Bob Russo, another owner of Garden Social.

On Jan. 19, which was also Boller and Russo’s birthday celebration, Garden Social hosted Vintage Night, in which they had entertainment from DJ Motion At Night, playing deep house remixes and tropical deep house music from 6pm-10pm. Then, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., they had Alpha Axe Throwing.

“Basically we are looking to turn a Tuesday night into a Saturday night,” read a post ahead of the event on the Garden Social Facebook page.

When Garden Social reopened its indoor dining area over the summer, it installed an air-filtration system built by AtmosAir Solutions in Fairfield, Conn. The system emits ions into the air that bind to contaminants and neutralize them, according to the company.

“We’re doing everything we can to make people feel comfortable again,” said Dave Boller, one of the owners. “People can come in and feel secure and safe, in addition to the mask-wearing and hand sanitizing.”

Throughout the winter, Garden Social has served guests in its outdoor dining area, adjacent to the building. In order to do so, Boller turned to a Farmingdale company called Preferred Events Tents, which is providing a temporary enclosure as well as a propane-powered heating system that blows hot air into it.

“We care about other businesses,” Russo said. “We know that we’re gonna make it through . . . but we want to make sure that other places survive this.”

Those interested in buying a gift card and contributing could do so at www.GardenSocialLI.com