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Nugget brings people together for feast

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com
Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealLeslie Gray and Patrick Dye of Carson City eat their Thanksgiving lunch at the Carson Nugget on Thursday.
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Sue Brattain and Ann York, both of Carson City, met Thursday while waiting in line to enjoy a free Thanksgiving feast offered by the Carson Nugget.

With no family in the area, the Nugget’s annual holiday meal offers a stark contrast for many people on Thanksgiving day to sitting home alone.

“I’ve lived here for 17 years, and I’ve been to this wonderful dinner several years,” York said. “They do really good work, and it’s very much appreciated. Carson City is such a great place to retire.”

York’s new friend, Brattain, agreed.

“This is my first time, and I’m very impressed. There are a lot of people here and everything is going very smoothly,” Brattain said.

Nugget General Manager Star Anderson stood at the door where people were lined up to enter the banquet room for the 57th annual free Thanksgiving meal, warmly greeting each person with a hug or handshake and a “Welcome to the Nugget,” or “Enjoy your meal.”

“Things are going really well,” Anderson said, checking her counter. “We’ve served 300 people in only 55 minutes.”

She said she always enjoys being the greeter.

“I like to make everyone feel welcome,” Anderson said. “It’s one of the reasons I like being the door greeter. This day is all about people and community, and we want to be sure everyone has a nice day. It’s about community first.”

Silverware clinked against plates, people chatted amongst themselves, and holiday music drifted through the upstairs banquet room as volunteer staff from the Nugget served up turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, yams, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin and apple pie for dessert.

Chef Mike Karsky, surveying the packed banquet room, said he was pleased with the outcome of weeks of planning and preparation.

“Everything is going as smooth as silk. It feels really good to do something for the community,” Karsky said.

He said they prepared enough meals to feed 800-1,000 people.

More than 400 pounds of turkey were slow-roasted to be served alongside 300 pounds of country mashed potatoes, 19 gallons of turkey gravy, 300 pounds of corn, 110 pounds of fresh cranberry sauce, 800 rolls and 120 freshly baked pumpkin and apple pies.

Chelsie Padilla of Carson City brought her father, Manuel Padilla, out to enjoy the meal.

“This is our first time coming here for this, and the people are really, really sweet,” she said. “My sister is up in Oregon, and we couldn’t make it up there … So I came here with my dad – he was really looking forward to it.”

For Artemio Rivera, also of Carson City, having someplace nice to go for Thanksgiving was a treat.

“I’ve got no family, nobody to celebrate with, so I’ve come here three out of the five years I’ve lived here. It’s such a great idea,” Rivera said.

“I have family in Puerto Rico, New York and Atlanta, so I don’t see them very often. Last year I went to Atlanta, but I can’t afford to do that every year,” he said.

Lucero Alvarez of Carson City, attended with her three children, brother-in-law and five nephews.

“It’s nice for all the families who can’t afford a big dinner. We are so thankful to (the Nugget) to give us the opportunity to come with our family and have a nice Thanksgiving dinner,” Alvarez said.

The Nugget also traditionally offers a free Christmas day dinner.