NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Gabriel Lamonaca was preparing to open a pizzeria in New York City last year when health officials confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the five boroughs.
“I had always dreamed of opening up a pizzeria. I was working on it, I put everything together, investors, I was looking for a space… and then the pandemic hit,” the chef said in an interview with 1010 WINS. “So I was basically forced to stay home like everybody else.”
Not wanting to defer his dream completely, Lamonaca — who is a native of Rome — started baking pizzas in his Harlem kitchen.
Seeing other New Yorkers sharing the food they were baking and cooking in quarantine on social media sparked an idea: using a barter system to “sell” his pies in exchange for baked goods and other items.
Since the pop-up's launch, Lamonaca has swapped his Roman-style pizzas for offerings ranging from chocolate cake, kombucha and bottles of wine to more unconventional items like toothbrushes.