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Restaurant to offer free meals on Fridays

River Stone Chophouse is one of the many businesses pitching in to help feed people during trying times.

Even though the North Suffolk restaurant has closed the doors to its dining room due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still doing takeout service from its menu. But it also is going a step further to help people, including its own employees.

“We really want to do something for the community,” owner Teresa Mullins said Wednesday.

This Friday and next Friday — and, Mullins said, every Friday for “as long as this goes on” — the restaurant will hand out free boxed meals from noon to 5 p.m.

“People don’t have to come inside; we’ll have it where they can pick it up,” Mullins said. “With the kids out of school, we’re trying to spread the word. We want people to know we’re doing it.”

The meals will consist of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and the like initially, Mullins said. There may be different offerings in future weeks, if the widespread shutdown of schools and services continues.

Mullins said they received an outpouring of support from other local businesses offering help with the effort as soon as the post went up on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Southern Bank and Rose & Womble Realty were two that have confirmed their participation.

“Other businesses are being affected, too,” Mullins said. “It’s really quite an impact everybody’s experiencing.”

Mullins said there are about 150 employees among the three restaurants in the group, which also includes Decoys Seafood and Vintage Tavern. This effort is part of a way to make sure they can still earn some income — the employees will be cooking the food — and also a way to directly feed them as well as the community.

“We want to do the best we can by them (the employees) as well,” Mullins said.

The meals will be limited to four per car, Mullins said.

River Stone Chophouse will also offer curbside pickup for those who want to order from the regular menu from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The dinner and bar menus will be offered, although some items may change. They’re also offering 30 percent off wines by the bottle.

Mullins said people should visit the business’s website, riverstonechophouse.com, and Facebook page for more information.