The nation’s financial behemoths and auto giants reacted to the financial downturn by asking for more money; Robert Amato of Park Slope’s Tempo restaurant is asking for less.
On Saturday nights in December, the Fifth Avenue eatery will donate the entire value of its customer checks to a charity that helps individuals on the brink of economic collapse.
That means that 100 percent of the $42 three-course meal, plus any additional wine and booze purchases, will go to the not-for-profit Modest Needs Foundation.
For Amato, handing over his restaurant’s receipts — on the busiest night of the week, no less — is a financial loss he’s willing to accept.
“We’re doing OK, but there are other people elsewhere who aren’t,” said Amato, who along with co-owner Michael Elliott, runs the popular high-end joint, which is between Carroll Street and Garfield Place. “Now is the time to do something positive, to band together with our neighbors and help each other.”
The money raised during the four-night benefit will help struggling people here and in Canada, said Keith Taylor, chairman and founder of the Modest Needs Foundation and longtime Tempo patron.
“We help the working poor,” said Taylor, who has been coming from Manhattan twice a week to dine at Tempo.
Taylor’s non-profit will give out about $3 million to 25,000 people this year for electric bills, mortgage payments, and other expenses, usually in increments of $1,000 or less.
In addition to Tempo’s Mediterranean-influenced dishes — try the raviolo made with ricotta, duck egg and truffle sauce or the bucatini with Sicilian pistachio nut pesto — diners at the charity meal will also get hearty helpings of information about the people they will be helping.
“People can know exactly how they rescued someone from financial disaster, or how they kept someone in school by helping with tuition,” Amato said.
And as is often said, when you give, you receive. Under charitable-giving rules, diners can write off 70 percent of their bills on their own taxes, making this meal the best deal in town.
“There’s no better bargain in New York City,” said Taylor. “You get to go out and enjoy yourself for $42 — and write off 70 percent — and have chance to change someone’s life.”
Tempo Restaurant and Wine Bar [256 Fifth Ave., between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 636-2020] is now taking reservations for Dec. 6, 13, 20, and 27. Credit cards accepted.