Hickory House feeds Aspen again | AspenTimes.com

Hickory House feeds Aspen again

Charles Agar
Claudette Watson of Fort Worth, Texas, fills up her plate at the Hickory House on Thanksgiving Day. (Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times)

Asking only a donation, with proceeds supporting the community, Aspen’s Hickory House hosted another stellar Thanksgiving spread Thursday.”This has been one of the better years,” said Brian Jack, general manager of the Hickory House. The restaurant has fed Aspenites on Thanksgiving day for more than 25 years and Thursday’s crowd was an eclectic mix of longtime locals, tourists and new arrivals.While the meal is always free, organizers suggest a $5 donation – though many guests gave larger contributions. The proceeds support The Buddy Program, a group that connects area kids with adult mentors.”I do it because it’s a fun day,” said Hick House owner Paul Dioguardi. “It’s a good meal for a good cause. And we like to give something back to the community.”

Dioguardi bought the restaurant in 1998 and joked that the obligation to hold the feast came with the lease.Dioguardi’s landlord donates the turkey, and US Foods provides many of the side dishes. Main Street Bakery and Cafe and Lisa Joe’s All Things Sweet provide baked goods.The restaurant was busy from the noon start. And halfway through the five hour feast, Jack estimated 250 patrons polished off more than 25 of the 60 whole smoked turkeys, and put a sizable dent in the 260 pounds of roast beef and 400 pounds of potatoes. In the process, they’d raised at least $1,500 for the Buddy Program.

Kitchen and wait staff worked without pay, and volunteers from the community served food and cleared tables.John Alin is a general aviation pilot from Fargo, North Dakota. He flew clients to Aspen for the weekend and his wife Tracy and one-year-old son Hans joined him. They asked around town about where they could find a good turkey meal, and locals pointed them to the Hickory House.”It’s nice to do something different,” Alin said.”Great as ever,” said Bob Vieira of the Thanksgiving feast. He and Bonnie McCowan of Aspen Village have come to the dinner many times.

“It’s a nice benefit,” McCowan said. “There is a nice attitude and feeling of hospitality from the employees here.””I’ve been coming here since they started,” said Bayless Williams, a 37 year veteran of the Aspen Skiing Co. A bachelor, Williams said he wouldn’t go to the trouble of cooking a turkey at home, and said it was great to socialize and see friends at the event.”I love Thanksgiving dinner here,” said longtime local Jean Greiner. She volunteered Thursday and said she enjoys helping out.”The Hickory House has been very generous,” said Mia Woodis, a program coordinator for The Buddy Program who called the day a success.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is cagar@aspentimes.com.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.

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