Incredible Feast

Dec 05, 2018
Courtesy of: Cynthia Teeple The author’s husband, Michael, enjoys his turkey leg and more.

To the Editor:

Once again, Michael and I decided to take Dana and Vinnie DiSalvio up on their invitation to come to The Sandbox Café in Surf City for their third annual free, yes, free, Thanksgiving Day feast.

We hesitated, but only for a moment. Would we actually have as much fun at The Sandbox this year as we had at their free Thanksgiving feast in 2017 (our first)? Sometimes, it is best to simply have great memories of an event instead of attempting to relive that good time and end up disappointed. I think we have all been there.

We messaged Dana (owner) and gave her a “heads-up” that there would be three of us joining their festivities this year. Much the same as last year, a gigantic sign outside The Sandbox, for the population of LBI to see as they drove past on the Boulevard, advertised the FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER, SERVING FROM 2-6:30.

We arrived about 2:30, bringing along our own choice of beverages, and as we passed through the front doors were immediately greeted by Vinnie (owner). He led us to our table through the crowds of people, as well as the all-volunteer wait staff. More than 50 people showed up to help out this year.

For example, our waitress, Charlotte, is actually the owner of a daycare center and only works as a waitress on Thanksgiving Day at The Sandbox Café. The atmosphere is absolutely electric with enthusiasm and excitement emanating from the staff as well as the folks sitting around the tables.

Let me not forget to mention the incredible aromas, just like grandma’s house. You simply feel as if you just walked into the biggest family gathering; everyone is your friend or distant Cousin Edna who you haven’t seen in years. The crowd was similar to the crowd last year; every financial status and walk of life is well represented and we are all simply enjoying the mood enveloping us.

The incredible turkey dinner is almost secondary to the camaraderie of the crowd, but it is most definitely not secondary. Dana and Vinnie constantly go from table to table to make sure everyone is enjoying their meals and got exactly what they ordered.

For example, my husband, Michael, asked if he could have a turkey leg almost before we were seated at our table. Then we all had a great laugh when Charlotte wrote on her order pad that our table was getting two adult meals and one children’s plate (kids love drumsticks).

We started with fresh rolls, hot out of the oven, then a choice of either soup or salad. We all chose the soup when we were told it was butternut squash soup, creamy and delicious. The remainder of our turkey dinner took me right back to Grandma’s house, where our large Norwegian family met every year for Thanksgiving in Seattle, Wash.: smooth smashed potatoes with homemade gravy, green beans and amazing stuffing.

The three of us at our table actually had to turn down desert because we were so sated from our meals. Not to worry, however, we were given a choice of pies – pumpkin, apple, key lime – and our choices were then packed up for us to be enjoyed in the comfort of our own home, later that evening while watching football.

I’m telling you, Dana and Vinnie have thought of everything. The owners’ only request is that a donation, no matter how big or small, be left in the jar on the counter by the door that goes to St. Francis’ food pantry.

The cherry on the cake of this day was when I mentioned to Dana that the only thing I was going to miss was sneaking downstairs at about 3 in the morning to pull pieces off the carcass and then the wonderful smells in my kitchen the day after Thanksgiving when I usually make a huge pot of turkey soup.

As we were leaving the cafe, Vinnie told us to bring our car around to the back and park next to the outside refrigerator. Michael opened up the back of our SUV and the two of them loaded four large carcasses into the back of the car. What an incredibly perfect Thanksgiving Day!

Cindy Teeple

Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., and Holgate


Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.