Dave Portnoy saved Jersey pizza business following lockdown slowdown, says restaurant owner

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy: Closing in on $19M in small business aid

Barstool founder Dave Portnoy says ‘most moving part’ of his fundraising effort to help struggling small businesses is the more than 160,000 ‘everyday people’ who have contributed to the cause.

Gabriella Ottaiano said the blessings of Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy changed her pizza business in northern New Jersey after the fallout from the pandemic put the family business on its heels.

On Jan. 15, Portnoy came through Calabria Restaurant & Pizzeria to chow down on its crunchy thin pizza for the 1,000th review his famed Barstool Pizza Review.

Ottaiano said Portnoy rated the pizza 8.9, and her life has been like a miracle ever since.

“In honor of Dave Portnoy, we named our famous pizza after him Calabria Portnoy Crunchy Thin,” she told Fox Business.

Now, she is getting customers interested in feasting on her family’s pizza from as far away as California and India.

“People from all over the world came to visit us and support us because they saw Dave’s review.”

Calabria Restaurant & Pizzeria last year celebrated its 40-year anniversary. (Courtesy, Gabriella Ottaiano)

The business meant everything to her family, and last year they celebrated its 40-year anniversary. “My family came to America in 1977 from Naples, Italy to start the American Dream.  My father Bernardino and uncle Giuseppe opened up our restaurant in 1980.”

She said the review was better than a loan, considering before his appearance the business didn’t even know if its state taxes could be paid.

“Dave Portnoy’s 8.9 review saved my family’s business. The week before his visit we weren’t sure if we could make ends meet. Since his review, we were able to catch up on all of our bills, and save my family’s business.”

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy came through Calabria Restaurant & Pizzeria to chow down on its crunchy thin pizza for the 1,000th review of the Barstool Pizza Review. (Courtesy, Gabriella Ottaiano)


Portnoy isn’t a stranger to giving back.

He has been supporting small businesses impacted by coronavirus-related restrictions; he announced the initiative in December.

"The Barstool Fund" has raised multimillions and pledges one-year commitments to supporting small businesses with rent or tax payments during the pandemic so long as they continue to pay their employees.

To qualify, businesses need to keep an active payroll. The Barstool Fund will help the small businesses that are chosen pay off whatever costs they have to stay afloat until the pandemic is over.


Ottaiano can’t stop singing his praises.

“Dave needs to be recognized for everything that he’s doing, not only for my family. He’s our hero.”

FOX Business reached out to Portnoy for comment.

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