Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Lockdown Hero – Tony’s Restaurant owner cooking, delivering meals

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Restaurant owner Chris Sinclair can’t open his doors to customers but he’s still in the kitchen whipping up meals for free for those in need.

Yesterday, the owner of Tony’s Restaurant in Henderson made mountains of pasta bake to deliver to homes in the area. Today, it is spinach and chickpea frittata.

Despite losing upwards of $300,000 to Covid lockdowns the owner of the popular steak restaurant is still helping those less fortunate.

Sinclair has been nominated as today’s Lockdown Hero.

“There are people out there who can’t get out or are stuck with no way to feed their family,” Sinclair said.

“I have just delivered a whole lot of pre-made meals to a family of eight. They really appreciated it.”

Sinclair said the whole West Auckland community had made the foodbank possible with ongoing donations of fresh and frozen food.

“We have people donating eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables and it’s funny but there is always a lot of chickpeas,” Sinclair said.

“Someone even donated a chest freezer for all of the prepared meals.

The generosity of people in this community is staggering.”

With his restaurant closed under level 4, Sinclair was using it to provide for those who were struggling through the lockdown.

His mornings were spent in the kitchen making meals with the donated goods and the afternoons spent delivering in the local area.

He is well-known in the community for his giving nature.

Sinclair runs the Helping Hands Gifting Group charity, which provides goods and services to those in need.

“We help people access everything from clothing, food, whiteware, and services as well.

“It’s a bit different at the moment, but people can offer services like cleaning to help people in the community.”

The Facebook page had been operating for the past four years and had 4500 members.

“It’s a place people can use to gift to those in need and also where people can request help when they need it.

Sinclair had owned Tony’s Restaurant for 37 years and said Covid had been devastating.

The business could open for takeaways in level 3 but the income was half what it needed to be.

“The lockdowns always seem to come at our peak times like around Mother’s Day and this time we have Father’s Day coming up.

“The local community is really supportive when it comes to ordering in level 3 but even then we are at 50 per cent.”

On the day lockdown was announced, half the bookings expected at the restaurant cancelled.

“People were too scared to go out. We had bookings that week for 60 to 80 people and they were all lost as well, of course.”

Sinclair said despite Covid “crushing” his business his thoughts were with others in the community doing it tough.

“I have regular customers who are hairdressers and business owners who can’t open either.

“This has affected people across the board and we need to get through it together.”

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