Hell’s Kitchen is serving up warming news for striking actors and writers. Marseille and Nizza have cooked up a “dine now, pay later” deal to show solidarity with the unions representing film and television workers in New York.
The two establishments, both situated on 9th Avenue between W44/45th Street, have extended an open invitation to members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), who are currently in the throes of a strike. The dispute centers on the concern over remuneration related to AI and streaming services.
Under this unique offer, union members can dine at either Marseille or Nizza from 9pm every night, free of charge. Payment for the meals, excluding alcoholic beverages and tips, is to be made at a later date, when possible. This offer applies to union members who present their ID card upon arrival, with reservations available in advance or on a walk-in basis.
The strike commenced for writers on May 2 and for actors on July 14. The impasse has sent shockwaves through New York’s usually dynamic film and television industry, halting productions. The negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) continue.
Local actor and SAG/AFTRA member Max von Essen said in response to the restaurants’ offer: “Nizza and Marseille have always been two of my favorite restaurants but they continue to show that they’re interested in more than just the bottom line. They actually care about the community and supporting people in our neighborhood. It’s just amazing.”
This is not the first time these restaurants have extended their hands to local creatives. In the thick of the pandemic in October 2020, they offered a similar deal to members of the Actor’s Equity Association who were affected by the Broadway shutdown.
“We will keep a house account for each actor who dines,” said Robert Guarino, a partner in the restaurants, during the previous initiative. “When theater returns to New York and the actors start working again, the amount owed can be paid off as slowly or quickly as possible, if at all.”
Simon Oren, Chef Andy D’Amico, and Guarino, the trio behind the establishments, emphasized that they were “feeding the community that has fed them all these years.” The reaction from the community was overwhelmingly positive, with Actor David LaMarr commenting, “It’s an incredibly generous gesture. People care and want us all to thrive. I look forward to continuing to support these establishments and having their back as they have ours.”
Until the dispute ends, Marseille and Nizza will continue to serve up dishes filled with compassion and solidarity, alongside their usual culinary delights.