Stevens restaurant will host benefit for fire victims
By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
Two Cousins Pizza & Italian Ristorante will be hosting a fund-raiser on Dec. 28 to benefit the Rissler family, devastated by a fire in a Stevens home just over a week ago.
Surviving residents Heather and Jonathan lost their parents, Melvin and Patti Rissler, and their sister, Rachel, in the blaze. Not residing in the home are their two sisters, Sarah Diem and Rebekah, as well as several half-brothers and sisters.
Lorenzo and Francesco Bonura, co-owners, have known the Risslers as regular customers for some time. Both wanted to do something to help and therefore have decided to donate 15 percent of all sales on this day to the surviving family.
Lorenzo, who has been at the restaurant for six years, said the Risslers were former customers at his parents’ restaurant in New Holland. His best recollections of the family, however, were in their usual seat in the corner booth of his Stevens establishment nearly every Sunday.
The morning of the fire, Lorenzo and his staff heard the news from a waitress; however, the reality did not hit him until he saw their faces on the evening news on television.
"You build up a relationship with your customers," said Lorenzo, clearly saddened by the loss. "They were real laid back people."
Lorenzo added that he and his wife also would often see Patti Rissler at Wal-Mart where she worked.
"She seemed like a real nice lady," he said.
Franceso shares in Lorenzo’s respect for patrons and the desire to help members of the community.
"They are not just customers; they are family," he said.
The word is spreading quickly for the Dec. 28 event, which is displayed on the sign in front of the restaurant at 1215 N. Reading Road (Route 272) and posted on Facebook. Even though the fund-raiser is being held on a Wednesday, Lorenzo has extra members of his family coming in to help out and expects a good crowd. Some guests will be coming from as far as Harrisburg.
"My staff is going to be ready like it’s a Friday," he said, adding that no flyer is needed to participate — the portion of proceeds from every customer sale will automatically go toward the Risslers.