Vegan Thanksgiving Feast and Raffle
FAQ - General Questions
Paying for the event
How much does it cost, and how do I pay? Are refunds available? How do TVS memberships affect the cost?
Please see our Payment FAQ.
Directions to the restaurants
What are the directions to Café Parizäde?
Café Parizäde is at 2200 W. Main Street in Durham (see a map). Take the Durham Expressway (NC 147) either north from I-40, or south from I-85/15-501, and exit at Swift Avenue. At the end of the exit ramp, turn right if coming from I-40, or left if coming from I-85/15-501. At the light just ahead, turn left onto Main Street. Go through one light at Ninth Street and in 100 yards or so, turn right into the Erwin Square complex.
What are the directions to Washington Duke Inn?
Washington Duke Inn is on Duke University's West Campus at 3001 Cameron Blvd. in Durham (see a map). From I-40 in either direction, take the Jordan Lake exit for NC 751, turning toward Durham and away from Jordan Lake. Stay on NC 751 even as it zigs and zags to Duke University; the Inn and golf course are on your left. View directions from other areas. There will be complimentary valet service, or you can park in any of the regular parking spaces.
Choosing an arrival time
When should I arrive?
To help reduce lines, we limit the number of people who can arrive at the restaurants at the same time. For the Thanksgiving Day seating at Café Parizäde, possible arrival times are 11:30 am, 12:00 pm, 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, and 2:30; the entire event will last from 11:30 am to approximately 5:00 pm. You can (and are encouraged to) stay as long as you like after your arrival; the raffle will likely begin around 3:30 pm.
For the Sunday seating at Washington Duke Inn, possible arrival times are 12:00 pm, 12:30, and 1:00; the event will last from 12:00 pm to approximately 5:00 pm. A limited program, including announcements and the drawing of a few raffle prizes, will likely take place at around 2:00 pm.
Our setup at the restaurants is made much easier if we don't have to host arrivals before the event begins.
How should I dress?
If the past is any judge, expect to see people dressed neatly. Some will be in suit and tie, many will be in more casual but neat attire.
Is it okay to come alone or in a large group?
Is it okay to come alone?
Absolutely! As in the past, we'll have folks with TVS making sure that you're comfortable and can help to seat you and introduce you to others.
In addition, at Café Parizäde, we will have a designated Community Table for guests who are coming to the event alone. The Community Table will be available for those arriving at 12:00 or 12:30. If you would like to be seated there, choose the 12:00 or 12:30 arrival time and answer "yes" to the question on the reservation form, "Would you like to be seated at a Community Table?". If the 12:00 and 12:30 arrival times are full, or you are unable to arrive at those times, we can try to seat you at this table, but cannot guarantee you a seat there. If no seats are available at the Community Table when you arrive, we will be happy to seat you elsewhere in the restaurant.
For the Sunday seating at Washington Duke Inn, we don't yet know if there is sufficient interest in a Community Table. If you are coming alone to this seating, please answer "yes" to the question on the reservation form, "Would you like to be seated at a Community Table?". If there is enough demand, we will have such a table and you will be seated there when you arrive. Otherwise, we will be happy to seat you elsewhere in the restaurant.
My reservation is for a large group. Can I reserve a table for our group?
Generally, we have both small group and community seating and, though our event is always crowded, we haven't had a problem seating groups. If your reservation for the Thanksgiving Day seating at Café Parizäde is for a group of 7 or larger, and your entire party is arriving at the same time, we will reserve a specific table for your group. If your group of 7+ guests will be spread across multiple reservations (at the same arrival time), please let us know in the "notes/questions" box on the reservation form that your reservation is part of a larger group, and include the name that should be used to reserve the group table.
If your reservation for the Sunday seating at Washington Duke Inn is for a group of 6 or larger, we will reserve a specific table for your group.
Can my party of two have a small table just to ourselves?
At the Thanksgiving Day seating at Cafe Parizade, a limited number of small private tables for two can be requested in the restaurant next to Cafe Parizade (which contains additional seating areas for our Thanksgiving event). These tables will only be available for those arriving at 11:30 or 12:00. Please request a table for two when you make your reservation.
What can I expect at the event?
What can I expect at the event?
Besides happy people and a wide variety of great food in superb restaurants known for their quality, service, and decor, we'll have a raffle and free literature that you can browse or take home about vegetarianism. The press is often at our Thanksgiving Feast, so don't be surprised to see TV cameras or newspaper reporters.
Do we have the restaurants to ourselves?
We do at Parizade! This includes the main dining room, more intimate club room and boardroom in the back, and additional seating in the restaurant next door also owned by Giorgios Bakatsias, the owner of Parizade. The dishes will be served in a two-sided buffet.
At Washington Duke Inn, we'll have a room all to ourselves. There may be regular additional (non-vegetarian) seatings for the general public elsewhere in the restaurant. We don't yet know how Washington Duke Inn will design the buffet, but don't anticipate any problems.
Is the event non-smoking?
Yes, it is. No smoking is permitted inside either of the restaurants or immediately in front of any of the entrances.
Will there be long lines?
It sounds like a big event! Will the lines be long?
This event has grown in popularity so much so that we used to have long lines just getting folks into the event. Now that we stagger arrival times and require pre-payment, it's much easier for guests to come in to the restaurant fairly quickly. And implementing two-sided serving lines at Cafe Parizade has reduced waiting in the buffet line; in recent years there never seemed to be a wait at all for getting food! This year should be similar; there will no doubt be some lines, but we aim to keep them pleasantly moving.
I have special needs that preclude me from standing in the buffet line, as I'm in a wheelchair / have very young kids / other.
We are happy to accommodate you! When you are seated, please alert your server about your needs and, as required, the server can put a plate of food together for you and bring it to you.
Food ... allergies ... corking fees
What dishes will be served at the event?
Please see our tentative menus for the Thanksgiving Day seating at Cafe Parizade and the Sunday, November 18 seating at Washington Duke Inn.
The menu sounds great but I'd like to also have wine with my meal. Can I?
Sure! You can order wine from the restaurant's bar. Wait staff will help you; you will need to pay when a waiter delivers your drink. (Though the meal price is all-inclusive, you should tip for bar service.)
I would like to bring my own bottle of wine. Can I and, if so, is there a corking fee?
Café Parizäde has a well-stocked bar that you can order from. However, if you have a special wine that you would like to have served, we have made arrangements with Cafe Parizade to allow you to bring it. Please bring the wine to your server and pay him/her directly the $10 corkage fee. Consider supplementing what you bring with fine selections from the restaurant, as well.
Washington Duke Inn has a $30 corkage fee if you would like to bring wine to the event. Consider supplementing what you bring with fine selections from the restaurant, as well.
I have particular food allergies. Will I be able to find a variety of food I can eat?
All of the food will be plant-based. There will be a wide variety of food but if you have a concern, feel free to contact us before the event to see how we can best accommodate you. Please ask us at the event for questions on ingredients of any particular dishes and we'll do our best to help you. We attempt to use labels like "GF" (gluten-free) and "SF" (soy-free), but if you have questions or other allergies, ask for Dilip or to talk to the Chef when you arrive.
I have problems eating sugar. Will there be desserts that I can enjoy?
None of the desserts will have refined white sugar or honey. Other sweeteners, like turbinado sugar, are used. If you wish to avoid all added sweeteners, fruit is available.
I will be attending with my children. Will there be food that kids will enjoy?
We sure hope so. Thanksgiving is a family holiday and we want to make sure that families enjoy our event. We get rave reviews about the food at this event every year, and aim for a wide variety of dishes. Most of the dishes have gourmet sensibilities, but we aim to always have a relatively simple pasta dish, as well as salads, breads, and grains. We hope that the discerning as well as not-so-discerning diner of any age, vegetarian or not, will come away loving the food!
I am attending Thanksgiving at somebody's house and can't attend the TVS event – but I would just love to bring some food from the TVS Thanksgiving along with me. Can I pay to stop by and "pack and run" with some food?
Yes, indeed. As long as you pay your admission price, just let us know when you make your reservation and then again when you get to the event that you need to pack your meal, and you will be given a takeaway container. Even better, we encourage you to bring your own reusable container to avoid waste.
We love the food! Can we bring containers to bring home extra food?
In general, no. Food is made for the number of people coming to eat at the event. Some event organizers and volunteers actually don't eat until the event concludes.
However, in the event that there is an excess of some item(s), an announcement will be made during the raffle. The restaurant will have containers for your use then - or you will be able to use your own reusable containers - to take home any such items.
How does the raffle work?
We always have many generous donors who provide gifts to TVS, including cases of food products, books, gift certificates from area businesses, t-shirts, various services, and much more. Many of these prizes are of value of at least $25-50 and sometimes much more. We will sell raffle tickets for $1 apiece and draw for these prizes around 3:30 pm at Parizäde.
Our plans are to keep the Sunday meal at Washington Duke Inn more quiet. We anticipate having a welcome and some announcements around 2:00 pm or so, and will have a small raffle of a few prizes then, as well.
Is the raffle on Sunday at Washington Duke Inn separate from the Thanksgiving Day raffle at Cafe Parizade?
Yes. Winners at either restaurant will be drawn only from tickets purchased by guests attending that restaurant.
Do I have to be present to win a prize in the raffle?
Yes and no. We require that somebody with a winning ticket be present during the raffle to claim each prize. If you purchase raffle tickets and can't stay for the actual raffle, you can certainly give your tickets to somebody else who will be present and who can collect, on your behalf, any prizes that you will have won.
I am planning on coming but will also be attending another Thanksgiving event after I eat. What happens if I leave early and miss the raffle drawing after I enter?
Please see the last question. Please note that if we draw a ticket and nobody present is holding the winning number, we will simply draw again.
I have something that I would like to donate to the raffle. Can I?
Yes; please contact Dilip Barman at email@example.com before these events.
What does vegan mean?
The food at the event will all be vegan, which means that no animal products will have been used. There will be no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, or honey in any of the dishes, and we also won't have any refined sugar. If you're new to veganism or vegetarianism, you may be surprised at how delicious and diverse our menu is!
This event is hosted by the Triangle Vegetarian Society, and we invite you to browse our links section and other resources for more context, including a presentation put together by Dilip Barman. Not only is veganism great for the environment, human health, and the animals, but also we want to ensure that most everybody will be comfortable eating anything at the Feast and to showcase to the public how easy and exciting vegan food is!
What is TVS?
The Triangle Vegetarian Society was founded in 1986 to promote the nutritional, ethical, and environmental aspects of vegetarianism. TVS is an active group with monthly potlucks and restaurant reviews, as well as many special events like our Thanksgiving Feast. We encourage membership not just for vegetarians, but for all who have an interest in any aspect of vegetarianism.
Do I have to be a member of TVS to come?
Absolutely not; in recent years, for example, only about 45-50% of the attendees were members. But if you decide to become a member when you prepay for the event, you can pay the lower member price. See the Payment FAQ for details.
History of the TVS Thanksgiving
What is the history of the TVS Thanksgiving?
TVS was formed in 1986. In 1986 or 1987, we apparently had turkeys for Thanksgiving – i.e., live turkeys eating alongside us at a potluck dinner, and made it on national TV. We continued to celebrate Thanksgiving as a potluck dinner for several years at a church meeting room near Duke University in Durham. Around 1994, we decided to try a restaurant Thanksgiving, and ate at Govinda's in Carrboro. If memory serves, since Govinda's went out of business, we had our feast at the Regulator Cafe in Hillsborough in 1995 and 1996. (Every year from 1996 on, we have made it to the evening news!) Unfortunately, the Regulator Cafe, too, went out of business, so in 1997 we had our feast at the Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh; we had about 100 guests and were on both channel 5 and FOX TV. We were again on the news, but just for a 20-second spot, in 1998 at Irregardless, and began having a raffle. We made our move to Cafe Parizäde in 1999, had 83 people, sold 238 raffle tickets, and had exceptional media coverage (Channel 17 did a piece a few days before, and Channel 11, the News & Observer, and possibly the Spectator all covered the event). In 2000 at Cafe Parizäde, we had over 100 attendees, sold 368 raffle tickets, had 86 raffle prizes, and were on 3 or maybe 4 of the evening news programs. In 2003, brimming with 281 attendees sharing the restaurant with the general public in the back, we had excellent coverage by both of the major local newspapers (Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News and Observer) and were on at least one evening news program.
2004 was a particularly exciting year as we believed we now had grown to be the country's largest vegetarian Thanksgiving with 360 attendees. We had good local press coverage with a pre-event article in the Durham Herald-Sun newspaper and Channels 5 and 17 covering us and giving positive coverage in their news on Thanksgiving Day, plus having three large and delicious pictures from our event on the cover of the Durham Herald-Sun food section the day after Thanksgiving. In addition, we attracted national attention with freelance writer and photographer Linda Long flying down from New York to cover the event for California-based VegNews and New Jersey-based American Vegan; we subsequently had cover articles in the summer 2005 issue of American Vegan and Thanksgiving 2005 issue of VegNews.
In 2005 we had 475 attendees, in 2006 we had 365, in 2007 we had 525, in 2008 we had 578, in 2009 we had 788, in 2010 we had 807, and in 2011 we had 876 attendees from over 50 cities in 12 states. There were several newspaper articles written about the 2011 event in all of the area major newspapers. We were on two television news programs, News 14 and, we believe, WTVD ABC 11.
Is a vegan Thanksgiving unusual?
Is our vegan Thanksgiving unusual?
The truly "traditional" Thanksgiving was probably vegan, with the possible inclusion of deer, according to historian Rynn Berry. The European settlers' first Thanksgiving when they arrived on November 11, 1620, likely consisted of beans and corn that they stole from the Native Americans. In November 1621, the Pilgrims joined the natives in their centuries' old harvest festival.
According to Rynn Berry, "The main meal was a sort of corn meal mush along with nuts and fruits ... popcorn and popcorn balls made by the Indians with maple syrup were served as a sweet. There was a variety of breadstuffs ... it is also possible that other native foods such as pumpkin and squash were served." The meal was primarily vegan, with the possibility of some wild game included.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. The idea of eating turkeys was popularized by an article in Ladies Home Journal in the 1930s.
Photograph from Thanksgiving 2005 courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services from South Carolina, and used with his permission. (More pictures available online.)