The owner of Moondogs Too changed a few things about his Thanksgiving spread this year, but surprisingly it wasn’t the price. Everyone who comes to the downtown restaurant Thursday will still get a full holiday meal for $1 a person.
“This year, children will be allowed in the restaurant until 7 p.m.,” said Darryl Baldwin, explaining that he promised his customers last year that parents would not have to bring doggie bags to their children again, but instead could bring them inside to sit down.
And once inside, everyone will get turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls, pie — a full, traditional Thanksgiving meal for one greenback.
“The dollar just offsets a little of our costs,” Baldwin said. “Also, it means something to people that it’s not free, and not a charity. It’s worth something to them and allows them to say that they paid for it.”
In fact, Baldwin said that most people who attended the holiday meals last year paid more than the requested amount, with many donating both food and money to South Kitsap Helpline as well.
“We collected $400 to $500 for Helpline, which was heartwarming, since some of the people who donated were obviously tight on cash,” he said, adding that he found nearly everything about the dinners last year heartwarming.
“It was obviously the right thing to do, and something that people were looking for,” he said. “We felt that we had made a difference in people’s lives.”
For the first dinner at Thanksgiving, Baldwin said about 35 people came to eat, most who expected to find “a catch.” But soon they settled down to dinner and their stories came out.
“One man said he’d lost his wife the year before, and when he read about our dinner he decided to come down and have Thanksgiving with us,” he said. “Another couple, they were signed up to get a meal from Helpline, but when they heard that Helpline wasn’t going to have enough turkeys for everyone who needed one, they decided to forgo their turkey and come have a meal for a dollar.”
Then a month later, Baldwin said nearly everyone who attended the Thanksgiving dinner came back for the Christmas meal, along with 35 more.
“Our attendance for Christmas doubled,” he said, adding that he still hears from people who came last year, either with letters or when they stop by to say “hi.”
This year’s Thanksgiving meal will be held a bit earlier in the day — from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. — but will still include all the holiday standards.
“It will be the meal we all grew up with,” Baldwin said, “with turkey, mashed potatoes made from scratch, homemade pies, rolls, and vegetables, for those that want them.”
Baldwin said business such as Minder’s Meats in Bremerton and Morningside Bakery just across the street would be contributing to the meal.
Collection barrels for Helpline will also be setup at the restaurant and other nearby merchants.