2013 got off to a terrible start for Kristina Gonzales, the veteran server at Formoli's Bistro who lost all of her possessions when her home was ravaged by fire in the wee hours of New Year's Day.
The folks at the East Sacramento restaurant have rallied to support her, and after some brainstorming, have decided to host an informal fundraiser that just might turn something dismal into something memorable and fun.
This Sunday, Formoli's Bistro will host a brunch with a twist - the servers will cook and the chefs will serve. Don't expect the usual high-caliber dining experience you normally get at Formoli's, but it should be plenty of fun, with a few flubs here and there, perhaps, all for a good cause.
Gonzales is currently apartment hunting and will have to come up with a hefty deposit while trying to replace many of the necessities lost in the fire.
The brunch, which will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., is open to everyone. The chefs will bring out the food and serve it family-style. There will be omelets and blood orange mimosas, among other things. There is no specific charge for the food. Customers are free to make any kind of donation they can manage, be it cash (Formoli's asks that cash be placed in sealed envelopes) or things like towels, dishes or even furniture.
"We thought we would do something fun to get her spirits up," said Suzanne Ricci, who owns the restaurant with husband (and chef) Aimal Formoli. "I've known Kristina for about 10 years and she has worked for us for about five years. She is a loyal, dependable person and we think of her as family."
Formoli's is at 3839 J St., Sacramento. (916) 448-5699.
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.