Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks rooted with traditional meals and gatherings of friends and family. This year marks a milestone for Siggy’s in Murrieta where the tradition of giving back to the community has spanned 20 years.
The small restaurant on Jefferson Avenue has provided free meals complete with turkey, homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie to anyone and everyone who comes by between noon and 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
“It’s an experience,” said Gina Stavrakis manager at Siggy’s and daughter of owner Jim Stavrakis. “Come and enjoy – that is what this is all about.”
Volunteers staff the restaurant to serve close to 550 meals within the three-hour window. The atmosphere is lively and people can choose to order their meals to go or to stay and enjoy their Thanksgiving meal at the restaurant.
“My father started this tradition to give back to the community. We have a mixture of people who come by. Some lost their spouses or don’t have family. We also have families who make this an annual tradition,” said Stavrakis.
The day of giving back to the community has also become a Thanksgiving Day tradition for the Stavrakis family. Gina Stavrakis said she could not imagine spending the holiday any other way – her dad raised her this way. She is now carrying on the tradition with her husband and three-year old daughter.
“It has been a privilege to grow up seeing this kindness and generosity and it is all because my dad made it possible,” said Stavrakis.
The Stavrakis family cooks close to 40 turkeys in their restaurant. Each turkey weighs 20 pounds carved fresh for each meal served. The stuffing is homemade by the owner of Main Street Café in Fallbrook who also makes the gravy. It also takes more than 70 pumpkin pies to feed everyone.
“This is really fun – we get a lot out of it,” said Stavrakis.
A Greek Restaurant in Wildomar, Old Market Grill, will also serve on Thanksgiving morning a free Thanksgiving Pancake Breakfast.
“We are offering the meal to those in the surrounding communities who have nowhere to go, no family, or simply nothing to eat and homeless on this special day,” said George Spiropoulos who manages and co-owns the restaurant with his brother Chris Spiropoulos.
Old Market Grill has only been open three months. Chris Spiropoulos describes the Mediterranean restaurant as an American kitchen with a Greek soul.
The community is welcome on Thanksgiving Day from 8 to 11 a.m. The Spiropoulos brothers will be serving pumpkin spice pancakes, turkey sausage, scrambled eggs and orange juice or coffee.
“We want to give back to the community who supports us every day,” said Chris Spiropoulos.
Siggy’s is serving their Thanksgiving Day meal at their Murrieta location only, located at 26820 Jefferson Ave Murrieta. For more information, call (951) 696-0119.
Old Market Grill is located at 23937 Clinton Keith Road in Wildomar. For more information, call (951) 600-3974.