South Brooklyn native Leo Lykourezos is uniting New Yorkers and taking care of COVID-19 first responders one meal at a time.
Crispy Grandma Pies. Legendary Vodka Sauce. Fresh & Fluffy Calamari. After 22 years of making some of Brooklyn’s favorite dishes, Leo Lykourezos shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he’s busier than ever crisscrossing the 5 boroughs and serving first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
Leo got his start as a teenager working in a Pizzeria in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. After a few years learning the ropes of pizza making, he knew it was time to venture out on his own. Leo’s Casa Calamari was born and has recently found a new home on Third Avenue and 85th Street. It’s not just the fresh ingredients and innovative dishes that keeps people coming back. It’s Leo himself and his commitment to service. Outgoing, generous and caring, Leo looks out for his customers and is a recognizable face in his neighborhood.
Even prior to COVID-19, Leo’s Casa Calamari was taking care of first responders in local hospitals, fire stations, and police precincts . The size and scope of this current pandemic called for something different, however, and Leo enlisted the help of his community to feed more first responders. A GOFUND.ME page was set up to raise money for meals and Leo has already raised $14K of his $20K goal.
Recent delivery stops have included NYU Lutheran Medical Center, The 68th Precinct, and New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. When asked about this effort, Leo is quick to point out that the people who donate make this all possible. He also feels the enormous responsibility of reporting back to show exactly where the donations are going. He posts every delivery update on GOFUND.ME and Facebook so donors can see the recipients of their generosity.
As we start to get out of the COVID-19 crisis Leo is looking forward to seeing people in Casa Calamari again and making them feel at home. One thing that can never be replaced is human interaction and he’s going to make people feel better about things one slice at a time. Check out some of Leo’s favorite spots around town:
Best New York Donuts: Mike’s Donuts on 5th Ave and Bay Ridge Ave in Brooklyn. Try the Fruity Pebbles Donut and tell them Leo sent you. Family owned and operated.
Best New York Bar: Kettle Black and Salty Dog. Both on Third Ave in Brooklyn. Authentic locals, sports on the TV’s, community feel. A real snapshot of Brooklyn.