The Greater Philadelphia area is no stranger to a good cheesesteak, but what about a cheesesteak that’s doing some good?
Gabarelly’s Stockton Steaks has teamed up with Fisherman’s Mark — a local community social services agency — for a delicious fundraiser that supports the community in the Hunterdon County area.
“Cheesesteaks for Those in Need” will kick off next Wednesday, Feb. 2 (which also happens to be Groundhog Day) and the aim of this initiative is to fight hunger the best way they know how — with a local delicacy.
“We’re hoping to provide scores of complimentary cheesesteaks to Fisherman’s Mark that will be enjoyed by their community,” said chef and owner Brian Held in a statement. “Being a new business that opened during the pandemic, we know how difficult it is to flourish in this economic climate, and we’re very optimistic that our customers will help us support our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet right now.”
Held’s roadside eatery (which is named after his daughter, Gabrielle) was a product of the pandemic, but it was not the first venture for the chef. Typically known for his elaborate dishes that range from duck breast in fig sauce or a seafood tartare drizzled with a soy vinaigrette at his previous establishments, the Culinary Institute of America grad switched gears after a water pipe burst in his eatery, Bistro Rouget, in February of 2021.
Although he still has Brian’s in Lambertville and Hamilton’s Grill Room, (which he acquired in 2018 after the death of legendary restaurateur and theater-set designer Jim Hamilton, according to NJMonthly.com), Gabarelly’s was born out of the idea that some people just want a satisfying sandwich without all of the bells and whistles. And that’s what the Stockton, New Jersey, quick-service eatery provides, with a menu full of cheesesteak assortments (with options ranging from buffalo, salmon, veggie and beyond), wings, sliders, fries, funnel cakes and more.
What customers will get come next week from Gabarelly’s is an extra incentive. When patrons buy cheesesteaks at the Stockton eatery Feb. 2, they can purchase additional sandwiches for $10 apiece, which will in turn be donated to those in need in the community. Each cheesesteak purchased will generate a complimentary cheesesteak coupon that will be given to Fisherman’s Mark, and the agency will distribute the vouchers to its clients.
“We decided to team up with Fisherman’s Mark to maintain a local discussion about the reality of hunger right here in the Stockton-Lambertville area,” explained Judith Francois, Held’s wife and business partner, in a statement. “We’re really happy to create this initiative to foster this ‘pay it forward’ scenario and give back to those in need in our community.”
Fisherman’s Mark has been a part of the Lambertville community for more than four decades, providing guidance and support to people in crisis as well as facilitating innovative, responsive programs and services that promote stability, health and wellness. The food pantry is a vital service for locals, distributing more than 175,000 pounds of food in recent years, according to a news release.
Fisherman’s website also states that their core mission is to respond to the needs of vulnerable populations in their area including seniors, individuals living with disabilities, the local immigrant population, low-income families, the unemployed and the underemployed. They assist with any crisis, such as homelessness, domestic violence, job-loss, insurance issues, financial crises or medical, substance abuse or mental health issues.
“Hunger and homelessness are just as much an issue in our backyards as anywhere else,” said Jennifer Williford, executive director of Fisherman’s Mark, in a statement. “The cost of food continues to rise, and every little gift helps the needs of our vulnerable populations.”