Parthenon Diner Hosting Free Thanksgiving Dinners Requested by Branford Vets, Seniors
Branford's Parthenon Diner will serve up free Thanksgiving meals (dine in or take out) to any Branford military veterans, elderly residents or in-need community members who call in advance to request a meal. The meals are being hosted by the diner as part of an effort organized by attorney Andrew Amendola and a small group of friends who tallied up $5,000 in sponsorship funding. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Branford's Parthenon Diner Restaurant owner John Sousoulas loves welcoming diners on Thanksgiving Day, but this year, he's planning on some very special extra guests – Branford military veterans, senior citizens and community residents in need, who can receive a free, delicious Thanksgiving dinner by contacting his restaurant in advance.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal of roasted fresh turkey and all the trimmings (homemade stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables) will be available for take-away beginning Wed. Nov. 26 and served up as take-away or dine-in dinners during holiday hours on Thanksgiving Day, Thurs. Nov. 26 (the restaurant will close by 4:30 p.m. to allow staff to enjoy the holiday with their families).
"So they can eat in or pick up on Thanksgiving until 4:30 p.m, or they can also pick up the food the day before and it will have heating instructions so they can heat it at home whenever they decide," said Sousoulas.
The popular Branford diner will be putting out the free Thanksgiving dinners as part of an effort organized by patron and friend of the business Andrew "Andy" Amendola. Amendola approached Sousoulas with the idea as a way to provide some extra support during the pandemic to those community members who may need it most. Sousoulas didn't hesitate to sign on.
"It's a great idea," said Sousoulas.
Amendola quickly organized donations from friends to tally up $5,000 for the program. The sponsors are Anthony Bianco, Gerard Bianco and Lou Rivera of A & G Contracting; Don Herzog of East River Energy; Bob Massey of Massey's Plate Glass and Aluminum; and Mike and Vin Giordano of Branford Building Supplies.
"I know all of the sponsors personally, and I think it's a wonderful thing he's doing," said Sousoulas of Amendola.
Amendola, an East Haven attorney, also reached out to friends to raise an additional $5,000 to put on the same type of Thanksgiving program in East Haven at Twin Pines Diner.
"We're hoping to assist about 400 or 500 per diner," said Amendola. "And if there's more, the diners are going to absorb it – they'll take care of what's left."
Located at 374 East Main St., Parthenon Diner has been in business in Branford for 35 years and has shown it commitment to the community from the start.
"We've done many, many things with the school systems, with fundraising, and things in this regard as well, where sponsors have helped us out," said Sousoulas. "We also in turn try to help out."
For example, Sousoulas roasts extra Thanksgiving turkeys for the Parthenon Diner to give to one of the programs it regularly supports, Branford-based Community Dining Room.
Sousoulas said he and Amendola have already been discussing ideas for Christmas to continue to help out in Branford during this unprecedented time.
"We're a staple in Branford and we're part of the fabric of the community," said Sousoulas. "We always look to how can we help the community that's supported us for so many years."
To qualify for the free Thanksgiving dinner program at the Parthenon Diner Restaurant in Branford, Branford military veterans, senior citizens and residents in need are asked to call now (and no later than Monday, Nov. 23) at (203) 481-0333, ask for the manager or owner, and provide your name, address and telephone number for verification. Parthenon Diner & Restaurant is located at 374 East Main St, Branford.