Restaurants all over New Jersey are having such a tough time during the COVID-19 shutdown. All we hear is bad news about the industry day after day. So when you hear about a huge tip to show appreciation, it’s gotta make you smile.

That’s what happened at the Starving Artist Cafe in Ocean Grove the other day.

The Starving Artist Cafe is an amazing place in the historic Days building in Ocean Grove. It’s not just an eatery. It also features “porch performances” — entertainment by local actors and singers — and a generally cool vibe. It's just a unique and welcome addition to the landscape of the Jersey Shore.

So a longtime customer walks in, and after receiving his $43.18 check, proceeds to leave a $1,000 tip. Just like that, he puts a smile on the faces of all of the hard-working employees of the Starving Artist Cafe, not to mention that of the owner, Arnold Teixeira.

According to, the generous tipper left a note that said, “Thank you so much for working through this tough time, my family looks forward to our mornings with you every summer. We are thankful for your delicious food and great smiles, please know we appreciate you very much."

As you can imagine, this brought tears to the eyes of all of the astounded employees.

"We read the note together after he was all gone, we were all crying," Teixeira said, according to the article.

The cafe’s Facebook page posted a photo of the receipt showing the $1000 tip handwritten in on the bottom.

Arnold Teixeira via Starving Artist Facebook
Arnold Teixeira via Starving Artist Facebook

Facebook user posts were ebullient, with comments like, “Wow I'm tearing up just reading this. Beautifully generous and so kind. Well deserved.” And this “restores my faith in humanity! Amazingly wonderful.” Another said, “There is still love, respect and support in our little town. Thank you to the wonderful person who made a difference during this difficult time. God Bless!” It’s always nice to hear a story like this, but at a time like this, when we’re all desperate for good news, it is positively thrilling.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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