Hearts of gold

Gold Bar cafe offers free meal and company for Thanksgiving


Herald Writer

GOLD BAR — Just like everybody else, Pamela Paag is spending the day cooking the Thanksgiving turkey.

But Paag is preparing for 250 people to be at her dinner table.

Paag, and her husband, Rick, are the owners of the Trailhead Cafe, and for the second year they are hosting a community Thanksgiving dinner.

"The door is open to anyone in this area who needs dinner or who doesn’t have anywhere to go for dinner," Pamela said. "It’s something that we want to do for the community."

The Paags opened the restaurant about two years ago. Last Thanksgiving was a celebration of their first year in business, and as a way to thank the community that had supported them in their first months they decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving.

"It was one of those times when we weren’t able to be with family for Thanksgiving," she said. "And we were feeling really thankful for our local community. So we said, ‘Why not just have Thanksgiving at the restaurant?’"

The event last year saw 140 people come for dinner. There was no charge. But guests were asked to drop a dollar in the donation jar if they could.

That raised $430, which was given to the food bank, Pamela said.

This year, the idea has spread.

"We’ve gotten help from a lot of sources," she said. "The local grocery store has given food, and the women from the Eagles and the VFW are bringing in pies.

"A local businessman just dropped off $100 and said, ‘Go buy some turkeys.’ It’s been just amazing how the whole community is supporting the idea."

Restaurant employees are donating their holiday to serve dinner, along with some volunteers from a church.

Pamela anticipates seeing the crowd nearly double this year.

"Many people in this area are working-class people and need help," she said. "I know because I’ve been there. When I moved here 15 years ago, I was a 20-year-old single mom with two kids.

"I’ve had to depend on the food bank before. Not recently, though, and that’s part of why we want to do this — to help a community that has helped us."

Her husband is the head chef for the dinner and plans the traditional Thanksgiving feast: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes from scratch and pie.

"Just about the only question will be gravy or no gravy," she said.

Pamela said many of their daily customers are elderly people without spouses.

"I just hate to think of them alone on a holiday," she said. "I’d rather see them sitting at our counter enjoying the company of others."

The dinner at 429 Croft St. (U.S. 2) will be served from 1 to 4 p.m., or until the last guest is served.

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