John Stefano

OPEN to Serve Our Community




NOMINEE for the 

4th Annual Heart & Dove Awards™ 2021

and Induction into the Love & Peace Hall of Fame™


The Nomination:

Why Restaurants Matter

At first, there was bewilderment. Then utter confusion. Then the realization that maybe the world wouldn’t be the same. Then fear. Then a cry for normalcy.

All events were cancelled, all venues closed, schools were trying to figure out how to teach children remotely.

Worst of all: restaurants were forced to shut their doors and permitted to only serve take-out or delivery meals, if anything at all.

And that hurt the community big time.

A restaurant is more than just a place to eat. I mean, you can have a meal at your own home any time of the day, whenever you want. But you can’t replace a restaurant, a good food joint of any name or destination.


More than This

Because what you are experiencing goes beyond flavor; it is the relaxing component, the fact that you don’t have to prepare a meal after a long work day.

Or the social aspect. You’re not dining alone. There are other members of the community who cherish an exotic flavor, or a choice of food that they enjoy only on a special occasion.

Or whatever their idea is for going out – it’s always for good reason.

Restaurants, my friends, are a huge part of our society. They are the glue of the community. They are where everybody likes to gather, see and be seen, knowing they are a part of the locals.


The First Necessity!

Restaurants and their staff are on the front line of urgency by default, as they provide both nutrition and nourishment for the soul.

Restaurants are essential – they prepare food for us. And that’s huge.

Food is life… comfort… love – all in one. And most of us feel a sense of normalcy when we eat a good meal.


So, what did John do?

When everybody was numb during the first couple of months of social distancing and lockdowns, it was difficult for most small businesses to sort out what might happen.

But John Stefano at AJ’s Restaurant didn’t waste a day. He jumped in early in the game to take care of customers and staff as much as he possibly could, given the operating restrictions at the time.

On top of worries about his own business, he thought about his community first. From the beginning of the pandemic, he gave out free meals to COVID first responders and care providers, so they would have some relief after a busy day and feel appreciated.

Then, knowing they had to juggle impromptu online classes, he served free meals to teachers to help them find some comfort.

It didn’t end here: 2020 graduates were in everybody’s thoughts at the time, since they couldn’t experience the traditional exuberant celebration to receive their High School Diplomas. Guess what? John got them free meals for an entire week. That’s more than care – it’s compassion!

John made sure that his place was always cleaned to the highest of standards. They even installed touchless faucets in their bathrooms to help reassure their patrons, so they could feel safe there.


A Glimmer of Hope

AJ’s was one of the first restaurants to figure out how to help the locals. Having been to that place, I know firsthand how accommodating their service is, and how fantastic their food. It all comes down to great leadership.

They are doing a lot of things right on every level, so it is my privilege to nominate John Stefano for the 2021 Heart & Dove Awards, because he has shown extraordinary concern for his customers and the community. Thank You for that!



Submit your entry for the next Annual Heart & Dove Awards™ – get 250 Kindness Rebel points! >

Category: Local Business Owners
Town: Lantana, FL
Submitted by: Ingrid Webster


See all entries for the Heart & Dove Awards™ and Induction into the Love & Peace Hall of Fame™ to date >


Submit your entry for the next Heart & Dove Awards™ – get 250 KR Points! >

Each person may be nominated unlimited times for the Heart & Dove Awards™. However, they can be inducted into the Love & Peace Hall of Fame™ only once.




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