Diners: Nugget meal means not having to eat alone
For many guests of the Carson Nugget’s annual free Thanksgiving feast Thursday, having someone to spend the holiday with was every bit as important as the turkey and fixings.
“Everybody is someplace else,” said 84-year-old Marjorie Hendersen of Carson City. “I raised five kids in Vegas as a single mom – three sons and two daughters, but everybody is living somewhere else today.”
Hendersen said she attended last year’s Nugget feast, as well, for the same reason.
“This is great. It is definitely nice. I was hoping they wouldn’t stop the tradition when the Nugget changed hands. It’s wonderful to just sit here and enjoy a nice meal with other people.”
Hendersen said she had been housebound with all the snow and wasn’t able to attend her regular church service Sunday or her Tuesday church women’s group meeting.
“I was home for three days going stir crazy, but I went to the senior center yesterday and this is wonderful,” she said. “They outdid themselves. It gets better every year.”
Gene Anguiano, 14, was at the feast with his family.
“We always come every year,” he said. “It’s nice. The mashed potatoes were my favorite part. It’s very generous of them. Other casinos don’t do this.”
The Nugget’s executive chef and director of food and beverages, Nick DeMagistris said that the staff had served 500-600 dinners by about halfway through the event, and people still were lined up.
“It has been super busy,” he said. “Everybody’s in a great mood and having a great time. We have tons of food and people are enjoying it. You see so many families and people with smiles on their faces, and that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. We’re just trying to keep it all moving smoothly.”
Most of the management team volunteers some time to serve on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the cooks had worked for many hours to prepare 1,000 pounds of turkey, along with all the fixings and more than 150 pies.
For Richard Zuccarello, 67, the meal was a way to dine amongst friends.
“I do all my gambling here. I know all the management and staff and they know me so it’s quite friendly,” he said. “My dad moved here in 1977, so I’ve seen a lot of changes, and I’ve attended this feast for the past three years. They do an awful lot for this community. They’re absolutely great.”
Fred and Gloria Norvell drove in from Gardnerville where they’ve lived for 21 years. They had just finished their meal.
“Everything was very good. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,” said Gloria Norvell. “We’ve been here several times because we’re by ourselves. We have no family and we don’t cook on the holiday, so we come up here. We really like the Nugget.”
The Carson Nugget will offer another free feast on Christmas day. Providing the community with the two free holiday meals a year has been a Nugget tradition for decades.