Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Just like Family Service Industry Workers Band Together for Thanksgiving Dinners

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Just like Family Service Industry Workers Band Together for Thanksgiving Dinners

Article excerpt

There was no tip-toeing of dinner conversation around the election. No grinning-and-bearing the company of in-laws who annoy. No nodding off to the Steelers.

What there was: food, drink and raucous laughter - and a lot of it. And, a simple instruction from the shaggy, barrel-chested, tattooed host wearing a NASA trucker's cap: "Let's eat."

And with that, chef Keith Fuller of Downtown's Pork & Beans began the proceedings Thursday for his sixth annual service industry Thanksgiving, a gathering for roughly two dozen co-workers, colleagues and regular customers who either couldn't make it home or didn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving.

Wedged smack between two monster days for the service industry -"Blackout" Wednesday, often the busiest night of the year at bars, and Black Friday, when shopping and dining out go hand in hand - seeing family for Thanksgiving can prove a challenge or a downright impossibility for non-native restaurant staff with hometowns as far away as Oklahoma or New Hampshire.

"My parents live in Delaware," Mr. Fuller said. "So for me to go home and come back is nearly impossible. And I also have employees whose families live two hours away. So many people in our industry can't go home."

Mr. Fuller started the tradition when he worked at Six Penn Kitchen, Downtown, and then carried it to his former establishment Root 174 in Regent Square. This year, turkeys were donated from Wild Purveyors, beer from Dancing Gnome and Voodoo, pastries and desserts from the Fairmont Hotel and ice cream from Leona's, and guest were asked to bring two side items and a beverage to share.

"I like giving back. I got into this [profession] because I wanted to create jobs for people and create atmospheres for people to enjoy," he said. "I can't give every holiday off, but I can give people time to enjoy it, which especially in my industry can be tough."

Pork & Beans sous chef Julia Shay Mirek grew up in Mt. Lebanon, but her family has since moved to North Carolina.

"We're only five weeks into the new restaurant, so there was no way I was getting down to see them," she said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.