A local restaurant has created the tradition of giving thanks to its community on Thanksgiving Day.

The Gateway Cafe will serve free Thanksgiving dinner to area residents. The local eatery has done this event for a few years and it has been a hit among locals.

Head chef at the cafe, Wayne Morgan, said he has been present for the last two Thanksgiving dinners at the restaurant. Last year he reported they made about 60 dinners despite the closures from the high amount of COVID cases at the time.

The restaurant was able to and will continue to serve the Thanksgiving meals to dine-in and take-out customers.

“We had about 25 take out and 35 dine in house,” Morgan said. “Take out has been a big factor in keeping us alive through all of this.”

Morgan said the restaurant will take donations from patrons on the day of the free dinner. The money raised this way will not benefit the Gateway Cafe. Instead, the cafe will donate the proceeds to the Plummer Food Bank.

Morgan said he likes the idea of hosting the free dinner because it give those without a Thanksgiving tradition something to look forward to.

“It is important to have a place for people to go who may not have anywhere to go,” Morgan said. “It’s definitely a close-knit community here but people are welcome to drive from wherever to make it out here.”

Those who work on the meal that day all do so on a volunteer basis. Morgan said he has had a good crew that has been excited to cook the dinners each year.

He said they have about eight or nine turkeys they plan to cook as well as other fixings such as rolls, green bean casserole and more.

“We are excited to do it, we have a ton of turkey and more food than last year,” Morgan said. “As far as the foods go, everything I would make at home for my family I want to do here.”

“It’ll be one of the best meals of the year,” he added.

The free dinner will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., November 25, at the Gateway Cafe.

Those who want to order take-out can do so the day of the meal by calling 208-686-1314.

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