Cooperage Inn owner Jonathan Perkins in the kitchen of his restaurant today. Photo: Peter Blasl

A local restaurateur whose popular eatery was shuttered by state order this week is taking the opportunity to provide hot meals to front-line health care providers.

After the governor announced mandatory closings for restaurants Monday, Cooperage Inn owner Jonathan Perkins decided to take a hiatus. Then Peconic Bay Medical Center Vice President Samantha Vigliotta called to order takeout dinners for the hospital’s emergency operations team.

“Our command staff is going 24 hours,” Vigliotta said. “And while our food service is still serving, it’s limited because of social distancing measures,” she said.

“We felt it important to give them a hot meal.”

Vigliotta said she called the Cooperage to place an order.

Perkins, as it turns out, had “just packed up everything to close” after learning of the state’s mandatory closure order.

When Vigliotta reached out, Perkins immediately said yes. “But you’re not going to pay us,” he told her. “I’m going to donate
30 meals a day indefinitely.”

Then, Perkins thought, “Since I’m here I might as well do the takeout.” He developed a takeout menu to offer customers.

“The hospital is important to the community,” Perkins said. “I’m happy to do this — I’m excited to do it.”

Vigliotta said the hospital and its staff are so grateful.

“The generosity of people is so inspiring,” she said.

“I’m in awe of our community and our staff,” Vigliotta said.
“Especially when you look at the history of the hospital. Every time we faced adversity, the hospital has come out ahead and better and stronger. That we can continue to grow and still have that sense of community — I don’t know where else this exists,” she said.

“Farm Country Kitchen also reached out to us,” Vigliotta said. “They said, ‘Tell us what you need.’ This is a marathon and this gives us the strength we need to cary on.”

Meeting House Creek Deli also has offered to donate food tot he hospital staff, PBMC president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said.

North Fork Doughnut Co. delivered doughnuts to the hospital on Tuesday.

“I love this community,” Mitchell said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.