SANIBEL, Fla. — The non-profit "Put It On Pete's Tab" is raising funds for employees after a fire forced the Island Cow restaurant to close.
According to Sanibel Fire and Rescue officials it caught fire at 10:42 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, 2022.
Officials from the Florida State Fire Marshal's Office say the cause of the fire is undetermined.
The fundraising page hopes to raise up to $250,000, enough to cover two months of wages for the restaurant’s 50 employees.
The Island Cow owners Brian and Elke Podlasek plan to match funds raised up to $10,000.
Elke Podlasek said “Over 50 staff, servers, hosts, managers, cooks, and bartenders who are part of our Island Cow family are now facing unemployment until we rebuild. Some have worked for us since we first opened our doors and have known no other job since they were teenagers. They’re the ones we need to support during this time of uncertainty.”
Because rebuilding the restaurant could take a year or more, the Podlaseks, with help from Put It On Pete’s Tab, launched the campaign.
Donors can also send checks to the fund at Put It On Pete’s Tab, Inc., P.O. Box 150911, Cape Coral, FL 33915.
Put It On Pete’s Tab was formed to honor hospitality worker Peter O’Brien, who passed away unexpectedly in March 2020. O’Brien was part of the Sanibel community and worked at Blue Giraffe, CinCin, Bubble Room, Doc Ford’s, and George and Wendy’s restaurants.
His friends and family decided to gift money he had after his death to hospitality workers who lost income due to COVID-19 closures.