Almanac

Community - November 30, 2011

Get what you want, for free, at Alice's

by Dave Boyce

Thanksgiving Day is not known for its songs. There's "Over the River and Through the Woods," and there's "Alice's Restaurant," a sordid tale of littering, being arrested, mixing it up with other ne'er-do-wells, and evading the draft. There are upbeat moments, including two Thanksgiving dinners that "couldn't be beat."

In the spirit of that last item, the management and staff of Alice's Restaurant, at Skyline Boulevard and Highway 84 in Woodside, offered free meals all day long on Thanksgiving Day, including free reservation-only dinners on white table cloths, restaurant owner Andy Kerr said in a telephone interview. Donations, including tips, go to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Now in its fifth year, this event typically raises about $10,000 for the San Carlos-based food bank, Mr. Kerr said. The celebration recognizes the Thanksgiving Day events in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1965 that led to the song by Arlo Guthrie and the 1967 album "Alice's Restaurant."

"We thought it would be fitting to do something for charity on that day," Mr. Kerr said. "There are no prices on anything."

Customers ask, "How much is my bill?" and we say, "You really don't have one," Mr. Kerr said. "We get some people that don't leave anything. We have other people that have a cup of coffee and leave $200."

Everything is made from scratch, Mr. Kerr added, including pumpkin soup this year and four varieties of pies. The turkeys and other main course meat dishes are donated. "It's a very nice day," he said.

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