Anthony Weiner aims to create charity kitchen in Rockaways

Anthony Weiner speaks at a Meeting of Friends Anthony Weiner speaks at a Meeting of Friends of Rockaway Beach in a Knights of Columbus hall in Rockaway Park, Queens on July 31, 2013. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

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Anthony Weiner is going from politics to pots and pans by eyeing a nonprofit restaurant to help the Rockaways recover from Superstorm Sandy.

The ex-congressman, who has been volunteering in the neighborhood, will help oversee the project, which is in its very early stages.

In addition to providing residents with a new grub site, the "Rockaway Restoration Kitchen" will train unemployed New Yorkers in culinary skills that they can use for food industry jobs, the project's website said.

Weiner, 49, was listed as administrator for an idealist.org job listing for the group's executive director. The project, first reported by the Rockaway Times on Thursday, said Weiner, who ran for mayor last year, is still looking for a location.

Weiner declined to give details to amNewYork about his role with the kitchen but told the Daily News, "residents need help developing skills to lift them out of unemployment."

"This project is at the very earliest stages of trying to tackle these challenges," he told the paper.

The job listing expires on Aug. 31 and the group's website is still under construction. But it did list some details of the program.

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Rockaway Restoration Kitchen will "provide a comfortable neighborhood restaurant with healthy, locally sourced food that satisfies the hunger of Rockaway residents." The 13-week training program will help unemployed residents, particularly those with barriers to job placement such as incarceration or disability, with hands-on cooking training and professional assistance.

Katy Grey, general manager at Bungalow Bar in the Rockaways, said the peninsula needed more diverse restaurants to boost its economy following Sandy.

"The more destinations there are for people to come to the Rockaways, the more business for the established restaurants," she said. "We're a growing community and it's good for people to go to different establishments."

Weiner, who represented Rockaway in Congress, resigned from office in 2011 after it was revealed he engaged in online sex messages with different women after first claiming his Twitter was hacked. He ran for mayor last year but his chances were torpedoed after it was revealed he had similar conversations with another woman after his resignation.

City Councilman Donovan Richards, who represents the Rockaways, said Weiner's past scandals wouldn't dampen the nonprofit's objectives.

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"Anthony Weiner is a friend of the Rockaways and we welcome anyone who comes to train people with culinary and hospitality services," he said. "I'd love to have some of his soup."

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