TVS Thanksgiving 2009

Feast and Raffle at
Café Parizäde and Spice Street

November 26, 2009

Picture of people enjoying Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission.Please note: this is a summary of our 2009 event. Information about our 2010 Thanksgiving event is available.

Event summary written by Dilip Barman:

In 2009, we again hosted the country's largest vegetarian Thanksgiving with 640 people (+12% over 573 in 2008, and pretty much the limit at the restaurant) at one extended daytime seating at Durham's Café Parizäde, our 11th year there. In addition, we had 148 people at an evening seating at Spice Street in Chapel Hill, which by itself was probably one of the country's top ten largest vegetarian Thanksgivings. The almost 800 people came from more than 42 cities and 8 states, including Ft. Lauderdale, several from the Chicago area, and California.

Demand was unprecedented; we opened reservations on Friday, November 6th at about 4 am, and knew people were watching the website. Our first reservation came in at 4:02 am, and we had 326 reservations by midnight.

Thanksgiving is our biggest event and couldn't happen without many volunteers, especially our webmaster Ken Guttman. He continues year after year to improve the online experience both for diners and for administrators to manage the reservations, putting many hours into getting the online reservation experience to be "just right". Thanks, Ken!!

Well before the event, many people helped with calling companies for raffle prizes, including Tracy Morris, Maitri Acharya, and Brittany Lindsay. We had 107 raffle prizes worth a total of about $4900, and sent many happy folks home with great gifts, including several worth $500 and over. My wife Sangeeta Godbole came up with a great system for running the raffle. Jenny Finn seems to have perfected it – many thanks to her and her family (Alex, Erin, Dory, and Guy) for a fabulous job on the raffle setup and execution.

Ruth & Jill Stanton, Irena Rindos, Brian Copcea, Pravin Shah, and John Davis in the daytime; and Brian Donlon, James Balfour, Carmen Chasteen, and Jack & Ana Traywick in the evening sold raffle tickets. The Finn Family, Nina Foster, Valine Zeigler, Joy Anandi, Jody Hamilton-Davis, and Karin Yates and her children were among raffle distributors.

Picture of some of the food at Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission.Brian Donlon took phone reservations and, along with James Balfour, Tracy Morris, and her friend Russ, setup and took down literature and decorations. Checking people in were Stephanie Hodges, Eric Zeigler, Angela & Brandon Becker, Kathy & Linda Borkowski, Evelyn & El Giefer, and Joanna Riccobono. Michael Pocinki of Michael's Music DJ set up an effective sound system.

Many thanks to restauranter Giorgos Bakatsias, who, since 1987, has founded over 25 fine restaurants and gourmet markets, including Parizade and Spice Street. Special thanks to Igor Gacina, manager, Lou Mincey, pastry chef, and Robert Adams, chef, at Parizade; and manager/owner Jay Mehdian and chef Baptist Knaven at Spice Street. Menus served at the two restaurants are included below.

We gave special recognition to Ken Guttman, Brian Donlon, and Michael Pocinki. Thanksgiving is a time to literally give thanks for all that we enjoy in life, and we asked for a moment of silence to reflect on our gifts (for me, a big thanks for my precious daughter Anuragini who just turned 1, and who loved mingling with the hundreds of folks at the daytime event). Some have had setbacks or losses, and we asked for silence in memory. I called out the losses of my bicycling activist friend Bruce Rosar, Angela Becker's grandmother, and Sangeeta's grandmother, as well as a couple who were to have been at Thanksgiving but called Wed. night because their Mom had had a stroke.

We received a lot of publicity, including a feature story about my cooking in the November issue of "Our State". There were three articles in the "News and Observer" and an article in the "Herald-Sun" within 8 days of the event, and Thanksgiving television coverage from, I believe, WTVD channel 11 and News 14 Carolina. (If you happen to have recorded the coverage, please let me know.)

If I have left anybody out who helped, I apologize.

Daytime Menu for Café Parizäde

Fall Antipasto Buffet Table

Picture of people enjoying Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission.Main Courses

Desserts

Drinks

Picture of Dilip Barman welcoming people and conducting the raffle at Thanksgiving 2005. Picture courtesy of Keith Dixon of Picture Perfect Photography and Videography Services, South Carolina, and used with his permission.Evening Menu for Spice Street

Mediterranean Appetizers

Main Courses

Desserts

Drinks

Photographs 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.)

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