Greek Restaurant Owner Giving Free Meals on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner. Photo by Ms Jones from California, USA, via Wikimedia Commons

CHARLOTTE, NC – On Thanksgiving Day, November 23, the Skyland Restaurant, 4544 South Boulevard in Charlotte, will be serving free take-out dinners not only to those in need, but to any “travelers and people stranded in the community,” as reported in the Charlotte Observer.

The holiday tradition is 11 years old this year and began when Greek immigrant and Skyland Restaurant owner Jimmy Kakavitsas decided to thank the people of Charlotte by offering a free meal on Thanksgiving Day. Kakavitsas immigrated from Greece to the United States in 1967 and noted that the people of his new home were instrumental in the success of his restaurant.

“That’s why his free meals aren’t just for the poor or homeless, as is the case with most holiday charity efforts. It’s for any people who find themselves alone and isolated from loved ones for the day. In years past, the restaurant has given away as many as 3,000 meals to people who lined up at the door on Thanksgiving. The dinners include a turkey and all the trimmings, plus tea,” the Observer reported.

The restaurant will be giving out the meals 11 AM-2 PM on Thanksgiving Day. Volunteers from the Charlotte Greek-American community often serve the meals. The Greeks of Charlotte are about 20,000 in number, according to the Observer article. Like many Greeks throughout the United States, and in the Greek diaspora communities worldwide, many of them began in the restaurant business.