Turkey Day with all the trimmings
The Carson Nugget upheld its 41-year tradition Thursday by offering a Thanksgiving lunch at no cost and no questions asked to more than 1,000 guests.
First in line was Annie Denicola, who maneuvered her motorized wheelchair to a small table at the front of the casino’s Garden Coffee Shop about 10:50 a.m.
A lunch compliments of the Nugget was a dream for Denicola, who wore a leopard print coat and a matching cap for the occasion. Thursday was Denicola’s eighth Thanksgiving lunch at the Nugget.
“Oh, boy, I don’t know what I would have done without it. A lot of people like me would go hungry,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the Nugget I would have sat at home crying.”
Denicola, who dined alone, said she would go for turkey and all the trimmings, followed by pumpkin pie, before riding “the Cadillac” -her wheelchair – back to her California Street home.
Janice Large and her three grandchildren were spending their second Thanksgiving in Carson City.
“We’re guests of the house. Our church is serving food, too, but we decided to come here,” she said.
Thursday was the third time the family had eaten at the Nugget.
“It’s better than sitting at home because we get to have a fantastic meal here,” Large’s granddaughter, Scharle Large, said.
For many people, there was more to attending the Nugget than the lure of free food.
One regular at the Nugget said she decided to try the complimentary lunch with a friend because she didn’t have family in town.
“We’re enjoying it,” said her friend. “We thank the Nugget, especially for those who don’t have family in town like us.”
Another Nugget regular, June Seidenberg, decided to try the complimentary meal.
Having played a few slots, Seidenberg settled down for salad, turkey, vegetables and pie.
Besides the good food, especially the dessert, Seidenberg said she came to the Nugget for the company.
“I enjoy coming here. It’s a good crowd and a good atmosphere. I’m at home by myself and I enjoy being around people,” she said. “I would never cook at home, not for Thanksgiving.”
The Nugget’s generosity was touching, Joe Rado said, especially for those people who cannot afford a turkey meal.
“They are very nice people here at the Nugget. They treat you just like one of the family,” said Lillian Salerno, Rado’s companion.
Veronica Tennies and Jim Pope also dined with the couple.
Since Tennies didn’t have family in town, she decided to bring her neighbor, Pope, to the Nugget for lunch.
“My car doesn’t work, but hers does,” Pope said, gesturing to Tennies. “But I’ve been coming here for years.”
Many of the Nugget’s guests were familiar to Jim Dempster, the Nugget’s assistant general manager.
“It’s a family atmosphere, that’s what we try to do here. We have a lot of people who come here and this is their home. We are their family,” Dempster said.
The Nugget’s paying guests were equally appreciative of Thanksgiving lunch.
Albert Cliff and Marvin Brown waited 40 minutes to ensure they received one of the first tables in the buffet restaurant.
“The food is good. It’s always the same,” Brown said.
“The people are really nice, wonderful people here,” Cliff said.
Brown, a Carson City resident, comes to the Nugget about three times a week.
He decided against going for the complimentary lunch.
“If you can afford it, then you should pay for it,” he said, holding a $20 bill in his hand.