Mootz Pizzeria and Bar pays it forward one slice at a time during cold days in Detroit

Detroit has set extreme record lows this week thanks to a polar vortex, with the temperature falling to as low as negative 15 degrees in some parts of the metro area. Warming centers have popped up all over the Detroit area and Mootz Pizzeria and Bar owner Tony Sacco wanted to do his part by helping those in need.

Sacco delivered 22, 18-inch cheese and pepperoni pizzas to veterans at the Detroit Veterans Housing Program Volunteers of America Michigan (VOAMI) shelter in midtown Detroit (253 East Milwaukee) on Wednesday. According to a study conducted by the personal finance website, Wallethub, Detroit is the worst big city in the United States for America’s heroes to live in and with the harsh winter weather, it makes their situations worse.

“The veterans were very excited and happy,” said Sacco, who surprised them himself with free pizza. “They were very thankful and gave us a tour of the facility. We talked to the main chef and he introduced us to all the people that worked there. We got to see some of the veterans eat the pizza and it was really nice.”

Sacco could have chosen any shelter in Detroit to deliver free pizza to, but he chose the VOAMI because he has had a close tie to veterans over the years. As a resident of Monroe for the last 30 years, Sacco helped opened up Monroe County Chapter 142 in Monroe in the 1980s, supplying an office and paying the rent for a few years, enabling veterans to receive proper assistance. His daughter was also a social worker who worked with veterans returning from the war, so his willingness to help veterans comes from the heart.

“Veterans have always been close to my heart,” said Sacco, who grew up in Detroit. “I grew up in the Vietnam era and I’ve always felt like the Vietnam veterans have been mistreated. I personally know a lot of them and I thought it would be a nice opportunity on a cold day to help others out.”

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Mootz Pizzeria and Bar owner Tony Sacco unloads 22 pizzas to donate to the veterans shelter in Detroit.

Sacco said his plans to deliver community service to veterans in the area will not stop once the weather breaks and plans on continuing his good deeds like he has been doing for the past 30 years.

“When God blesses you with something, you need to reach out and help wherever you can,” Sacco said. “Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and others are less fortunate. Veterans went to war to fight for our country and to see them come home to nothing is pretty sad.”

Mootz Pizzeria and Bar opened January 28 and is divided up into two components — a full service dining room with a bar, and a small counter with slices for carryout called the Side Hustle. The New York-style slices are $4.50 and up and the restaurant is cashless. The bar, which sits 100 people, specializes in wines, cocktails, and has 20 beer tabs.

Mootz is located at 1230 Library street and will be open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

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