Cafeteria + Empire Diner Employee Family Fund

To Our Friends, Neighbors, and Community


For all of us, this has been an incredibly difficult time. We have had to make decisions this last week that seem completely unreal. At the direction of our leaders in health and government, we have closed both Cafeteria and Empire Diner indefinitely. 

This shutdown has critically endangered the livelihood of our entire team of 175 people. 

We opened Cafeteria 22 years ago, and we’ve been open 24/7 ever since.  Through 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, and several blackouts, our dedicated team has always worked around the clock to keep the restaurant going. Some employees have been with us since the beginning; they are every bit a part of our family and we feel an enormous responsibility to them. Cafeteria has always been three restaurants in one, with three shifts of hardworking and devoted cooks, waiters, dishwashers, managers, and more.  

We have seen it all.  Never did we expect to see anything like this.

Our team has always worked tirelessly in this city that never sleeps, too many times we didn’t either . We all knew how fortunate we were to be a part of this beautiful and resilient city. So many people have shared with us their “Cafeteria Story” and it seems everyone has one. Please continue to share them with us, it’s the reason we do what we do.

Empire Diner has been an iconic part of NYC’s culture for decades. We have been so proud to bring her back to you – our neighbors and community.  We are so grateful for your outpouring of love and support.

Now we need that support more than ever.

We are asking you today to help us help our staff during this uncertain time.  Everyone wants to work but cannot from their homes; our industry just doesn’t work that way.  Zero income means zero payroll, which threatens the very survival of our family of employees.

We have set up our GoFundMe page “Cafeteria + Empire Diner Family Fund”.

We are asking for your help. 

At this incredibly challenging moment, every dollar counts and helps.  

You can also help by visiting our websites, &, and purchasing online gift cards as part of your support.

We know that New York will get through this – our city is resilient; and we as New Yorkers will always stand united. 

Our restaurants will eventually reopen.  Please help us leave no team member behind.

Thank you for your support and wish good health to all of us.
Stacy Pisone & Susan Leonard 

The nourishment of body is food, while the nourishment of the soul is feeding others.
-Ali Ibn Abi Talib
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Stacy Pisone 
New York, NY
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