Owners at Dallas restaurants Norma's Cafe and Slow Bone believe no one should spend Thanksgiving without a warm hearty meal. That's why the Oak Cliff diner and Design District barbecue spot are giving away free meals on Thursday, Nov. 26.
Norma's owner Ed Murph began the free Turkey Day dinner traditon 27 years ago and the first year served less than 100 people. In 2014, the restaurant was able to feed about 7,000 patrons, according to marketing coordinator Rachel Daneman.
"We really do it as a way to give back to the community," Daneman says. Murph started offering free meals to make sure every one had a place to go and a meal to eat, she says.
Only the Oak Cliff location offers the meal. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, and anyone interested in dinner can just show up to have one. It includes roasted turkey, corn bread dressing, mashed potatoes, English peas, cranberry sauce, gravy, salad, a roll and dessert. But Daneman warns, you may want to get there early, as waits tend to pile up.
For a second year, Slow Bone invites wayward souls and travelers into the restaurant for a free feast, deemed Freebird 2015.
This year, other North Texas restaurants and restaurateurs such as Lockhart Smokehouse, Hutchins BBQ, Justin Holt of Lucia and Jeana Johnson of Mot Hai Ba are also joining in on the action helping prepare and serve meals.
"We try to create a culture here at the restaurant that is family," says Jeffery C. Hobbs, chef and pitmaster of Slow Bone. "For Thanksgiving, this allows us to really create a sense of community, and we don't want to charge for that."
The Slow Bone meal will consist of smoked turkey, dressing, corn bread stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green salad and pies. The restaurant will also have several of its regular menu items available, including brisket, ribs and sausage. Dinner is served from 1 to 4 p.m., and Hobbs said there will be a tent with additional seating outside the restaurant.