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A Staten Island restaurant fights cancer one meal at a time

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer. Three local restaurant partners are hoping to change the trend.

“Truth is, [cancer] is far too prevalent on Staten Island,” says Peter Botros, owner and chef of Violette’s Cellar. It’s a topic with which he and his partners, Phil Farinacci and Marc Zurlo, are quite familiar. 

Last year, Peter opened Violette’s Cellar in loving memory of Violette Botros, his mother, who courageously battled cancer for over a decade. Even after a long day of treatment, when she barely had enough energy to walk, Violette would insist on going out to dinner with her husband and two young sons. There was nothing that she enjoyed more than sharing a meal with those she loved, and now her son is sharing that love with others.

But Violette’s death isn’t the only way cancer has affected the lives of these three men. Peter was diagnosed with cancer six years ago when he was 26. Marc’s father, Ralph, is a two-year cancer survivor, and Phil’s mother, Sally, is a 35-year cancer survivor.

Entrepreneurship with a heart

While creating Violette’s Cellar, the partners knew they wanted to give back in some way — particularly within the cancer community. When they heard about the new Comprehensive Cancer Center coming to Staten Island University Hospital, their mission came into focus. 

Peter, Phil and Marc made a generous gift of $250,000 to symbolize their commitment to the construction of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. They also pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from Violette’s Cellar, as well as funds accumulated from charity events throughout the year, to the center.

Dina Wong, deputy executive director of Staten Island University Hospital, says the new building will consolidate cancer services currently located at different points across the North Campus in one location, making them easier for patients to navigate. New facilities will include new adult and pediatric oncology units with consultation and examination rooms, infusion stations, a laboratory, a pharmacy and a cancer registry.

 

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