JONESVILLE — This Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Theo’s Italian Restaurant will serve free Thanksgiving dinner. The staff started cooking the 45 turkeys this past Friday as well as the stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy and pumpkin pie they will be serving Thanksgiving Day. Every dish will be homemade just as it has been since the first year they started.
When Theofanis Kakouras came to the United States from Greece at 14 years of age, he was unfamiliar with Thanksgiving. By 1996, he had a thorough understanding and, with business partner Keith Combs, he open Theo’s Italian and Family Restaurant and started his own tradition for the towns of Jonesville, Elkin and the surrounding area.
Kakouras said, “I was so touched when I realized what Thanksgiving was all about.”
Through their banking relationship, Kakouras and Combs “became friends and we wanted to do something to give back to the community,” stated Kakouras, who will be serving dinner in honor of Combs, who passed away March 18, 2007.
Fliers distributed to invite the community read, “We believe everyone should have a happy Thanksgiving. Even though times may be hard, don’t sit at home alone.”
Volunteers will assist Kakouras and his daughters, Gigi and Alexandra, his family and staff including several doctors, and teenagers in feeding the approximately 450 people who come for Thanksgiving dinner each year. “A lot of people volunteer with serving food. The line is all volunteers. We get a lot of community help,” explained Kakouras.
Theo’s also gets help from contributions from such companies as Pepsi, US Foods, IFH, Graphics Printing and Swift Realtors.
“Nothing gives me more joy than the people who come in to say hi and give me a hug,” said Kakouras, smiling.
For more information about volunteering, call 336-526-5888. Theo’s is located in Starmount Crossing Shopping Center in Jonesville.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.