Aspen can be thankful for the Hickory House
November 23, 2011
ASPEN – Aspenites may find themselves far from home on Thanksgiving Day, but they’re not far from a home-cooked meal.
Aspen’s Hickory House – the “Hick House” as it’s affectionately known – has served up a traditional Thanksgiving feast to all comers for more years than restaurant owner Paul Dioguardi can say. He inherited the tradition in 1998.
The rib joint will set aside its usual fare Thursday, skip breakfast service and swing open the doors at noon for a turkey dinner that’s as much a celebration of community as it is about giving thanks and saving room for pie. The event runs until 5 p.m.
On the menu are 60 turkeys, provided by Hickory House landlord Tong Luu. The restaurant staff has prepared about 300 pounds of roast beef, 500 pounds of mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, coleslaw and, of course, plenty of gravy. Thank Paradise Bakery and Main Street Bakery and Cafe for the desserts – cookies and pies. Aspen Caterers provided equipment and many in the community show up to help, whether it’s serving food, clearing tables or washing dishes.
“It’s all the volunteers who make it happen,” Dioguardi said.
The restaurant suggests a $5 donation for the feast, with all of the proceeds going to the Aspen Buddy Program. “You can give more, you can give less,” Dioguardi said.
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The meal, he stresses, is not just for those who are down on their luck (though they can come, too).
“People are like, ‘Is it really just for the homeless? Can I bring my family?’ It’s for everyone,” Dioguardi said.
In a resort town where almost everyone seems to have come from somewhere else, plenty of new arrivals and long-time locals are far from “home” and family gatherings. In fact, plenty of people will be working Thursday – opening day of the ski season on Aspen Mountain – and some Aspen businesses order food from the restaurant to serve employees in the workplace, according to Dioguardi.
Last year, roughly 1,200 people celebrated Thanksgiving at the Hick House.
“It’s for everyone who can’t be home – for everyone who’s not in their own house for Thanksgiving,” he said. “There’s not anyone who’s not invited.”