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St. Charles restaurant owner feeds firefighters battling massive fire at former Pheasant Run Resort

Gina Chiovino is the franchise owner of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop in St. Charles

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop franchise owner and chef Gina Chiovino donated and delivered food to the firefighters who spent long hours on Saturday, May 21 battling the fire at the former Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

As firefighters battled for hours to put out the massive fire at the former Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles on May 21, Gina Chiovino knew she had to do something to help.

Chiovino is the franchise owner of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop in St. Charles. Chiovino and her staff started loading up cars full of sandwiches, chips, desserts and drinks to take to the scene.

“I was kind of in shock that was happening,” Chiovino said. “They were working hard and had to work in dangerous conditions. I just wanted to make sure we got them food.”

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop franchise owner and chef Gina Chiovino donated and delivered food to the firefighters who spent long hours on Saturday, May 21 battling the fire at the former Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

More than 20 area fire departments assisted St. Charles firefighters in battling the fire, which was contained to the center structures of the complex. After seeing a post on Facebook about Chiovino’s efforts, the wife of a firefighter came into the sandwich shop and gave a donation.

Flames and heavy smoke engulf several buildings at the former Pheasant Run Resort property in St. Charles on May 21, 2022.

“She said, here, it’s not much, it’s $20, but it’s something,” Chiovino said.

After that, more people came into the shop wanting to contribute financially to the effort or help deliver the food.

“We worked together as a team to get the food over there,” Chiovino said.

They were delivering food to the firefighters until 2 a.m. the next day.

She is thankful to first responders for the work they do. Her fiancé, Paul Claps, passed away in January 2021 at the age of 52. They opened the sandwich shop together in August 2020.

“The firemen were there and the police department, they were there for me,” Chiovino said. “So I wanted to give back.”

Chiovino also is a chef. In addition to running the sandwich shop, she operates Chiovino’s Catering and Custom Cakes.

“I was a chef over at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont for 18 years,” she said. “We did the banquet department with like up to 4,000 people. So I’m used to cooking for a lot of people.”

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop franchise owner and chef Gina Chiovino donated and delivered food to the firefighters who spent long hours on Saturday, May 21 battling the fire at the former Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Office of the State Fire Marshall are working with the St. Charles police and fire departments to determine the cause of the fire that destroyed several buildings at the former Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

The investigation is expected to last several weeks. The main lobby, Bourbon Street and A, B and E wings of the hotel at Pheasant Run have been destroyed, according to a news release from the St. Charles Fire Department.