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'It's a day of appreciations'

Owner of Tumbleweeds and his staff serve hundreds of free meals on Thanksgiving, no matter the cost.

November 22, 2011|By Mona Shadia
  • Frank Tahvildari, the owner of Tumbleweed's, and his head chef Abraham Ramos, left, prepare Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday. Tahvildari expects to feed more than 500 people on Thursday.
Frank Tahvildari, the owner of Tumbleweed's, and… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

Frank Tahvildari has spent each Thanksgiving for the last 16 years serving dinner to others.

And he's not bored yet. He's doing it again this year.

The owner of Tumbleweeds Bar & Grill, 21094 S. Beach Blvd., and two other restaurants in Huntington Beach and Seal Beach could easily take the day off, relax, eat and watch football with family and friends.

But he chooses to give.

"It's a day of appreciations — appreciating people and appreciating life," he said. "Life is not just about taking. Sometimes you have to give."

Tahvildari and his crew began the preparation two days before Thanksgiving. They planned to cook about 50 to 55 turkeys, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and all the Thanksgiving dinner fixings.

The restaurant plans to serve the free meals from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — anyone and everyone is welcome. Last year, Tumbleweeds served dinner to 550 people, and Tahvildari expects the same number this year.

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"We have had all kinds of people come through, who don't have a place or need the dinner, and we just open the door for everybody," Tahvildari said. "We don't check IDs to see who's coming."

There are volunteers who come to the restaurant Thanksgiving morning to help out, and Tahvildari's family members and two children also help, he said.

There's a reason Tahvildari, 59, has been doing this each year, but he prefers to keep it close to his heart. He would also not share how much it costs him to put on the dinner each year.

"We don't want to put a dollar amount on it," he said. "I don't think you can put any value on it. We don't care. That's the day we want to make food, and no matter how many people we serve, the dollar amount is not an issue."

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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