TVS Thanksgiving 2011

Feast and Raffle at
Café Parizäde and Spice Street

November 24, 2011

Guests enjoying Thanksgiving 2005 at Café Parizäde.

Please note: this is a summary of our 2011 event. Information about our 2012 Thanksgiving event is available.

Event summary written by Dilip Barman:

Thanksgiving was another big success, and we again set a record with the largest ever number of people that attended; we were again the largest vegetarian Thanksgiving in the country with our extended daytime seating of 673. In all, we had 876 attendees, with 673 at Cafe Parizade and 203 in the evening at Spice Street. There were several newspaper articles written about the event in all of the area major newspapers. We were on two television news programs, News 14 and I believe WTVD ABC 11.

We had over 262 first-time attendees (262 plus some of 240 that said they were in parties of a mix of first time and previous attendees). People came from at least 50 cities in 12 states. We opened for reservations on Saturday November 5th (19 days before the event) at midnight; Brendan Daley was the first to reserve at 12:03a. We received 547 reservations that first day!

At the event, we recognized with small gifts Ken Guttman and Susan Keesee. Ken always does an amazing job with the event, espcially with the online reservation system. Susan has for a few years been helping to call for raffle prizes. This year, she took on more calls and did an exceptional job keeping organized and on top of things.

We had two moments of silence. In the first, we remembered any sad times that we might have had this past year and gave thanks for all of our own rich gifts. I reflected on the loss of health of my Mom; she had a stroke in mid-October and has been in a nursing home (she's a lifelong vegetarian but not vegan; we're hoping that with a change of diet we've instituted, that a plant-based diet may result in some reversal of her stroke). Then we focused on our fortunes; I gave thanks to my daughter Anuragini who had just turned three years old, and the sweet pleasure she has brought to our family.

Thanksgiving is a massive undertaking and couldn't have taken place without the help of many people. Giorgos Bakatsias, Parizäde owner, has founded over 25 fine restaurants and gourmet markets since 1987, the first of which he did when he was in his 20s. Manager Igor Gacina is my "partner in crime" for Thanksgiving and is my key restaurant contact. This year, I also worked significantly with manager April Garrett. Chef Robert Adams and Pastry Chef Lou Mincey always do a phenomenal job. The staff at Café Parizäde are always so professional and helpful, and we thanked them for working the holiday - there were 21 waiters, 2 bartenders, 6 bussers, and 7 hosts.

For the evening seating, we had the fortune of working with renowned chef William D'Auvray. Thanks to all the staff at Spice Street, especially hosts Chris and Brittany, and owner Jay Mehdian.

Well before Thanksgiving, many people were involved, such as Kathy Borkowski, Tracy Stapleton, Jenny Finn, Brittany Lindsay, Susan Keesee, and Josie Rathbone Sianez, calling for raffles. Ken Guttman was involved extensively, especially with the website and reservations. Brian Donlon took reservations by phone. Brian, Jenny Finn, Sangeeta Godbole, Brittany Lindsay, Anuragini Barman, James Balfour, Jeffrey Luo, and Donna Hughes helped with setup. Brian did a great job with setting up extensive literature tables at both seatings. Michael Pocinki of Michael's Music DJ Service contributed his services in the daytime.

El and Evelyn Giefer, Anantha Aiyyer, Barry Nakell, Lechelle Feinberg, Kathy Borkowski, Katie Choquette, Kate Ferrell, and Pam Young helped with checking people in. Josie Sianez and Jill Greeson interviewed a few people during the event; their podcast should soon be available.

My lovely wife Sangeeta Godbole was the main raffle organizer. She had many helpers to get prizes to winners; I apologize for any I've left out, but helpers include Joe & Maria Pasquale, Jeanne Almeida, Anna Long, Jessica Hulick, Beth Throop, Jill Greeson, Joy Anandi, Robin Leto, Victoria Post, Barbara and Ian Graham, Nina Foster, Sharon Stitt, Angela Lowden, and Judith Stafford. Many sold raffle tickets, including Linda Borkowski and her friend Andy, Jeffrey Luo, Pravin Shah, and Jill Greeson. Katie Choquette took some photographs that we hope to have posted soon.

Daytime Menu for Café Parizäde

(SF = soy free, GF = gluten free)

Evening Menu for Spice Street

(SF = soy free, GF = gluten free)


Hot Pots

Fresh Fruit


The Hot Stuff




As in previous years, we had a generous raffle with prizes ranging from gift certificates from area businesses to cases of whole food products, fine chocolates, non-animal gardening fertilizers, and much more.

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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