Charlotte restaurant known for Thanksgiving tradition is closing for holiday

North Carolina

CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Right at the door to Skyland Family Restaurant, located off South Boulevard, there is a sign that’s simple, direct, and something no one wanted to put up.

It’s a sign that says “Closed on Thanksgiving”, and for this restaurant, known for serving thousands of free meals on the holiday, this is a big deal, and something that the owner wishes he did not have to do.

“It was not an easy decision to make,” said Jimmy Kakavitsas. “But I really had no choice.”

Roughly 3,000 free meals were distributed to the needy and those who wanted the meal on Thanksgiving, and for nearly 20 years, it was a tradition that even happened last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this year, another problem showed up— the supply shortage.

“Every time we ordered food, it surged 20%,” said Kakavitsas. “They’re out, they don’t have it.”

The problem for the restaurant is a problem we’ve heard from many other places. Earlier this week, FOX 46 reached out to a number of businesses and non-profit organizations who told us that, while they are always in need of donations for community outreach, this year has been particularly tough.

Charlotte Rescue Mission, for example, said their effort to get 6,000 turkeys for their community partners was an increasingly difficult task due to supply shortages.

The shortages are coming as the need for those services and those opportunities is going up. 

Patrons and others who wished not to be identified told us they were sad the tradition is being paused this year, but Kakavitsas said it will be temporary.

“Let’s hope next year it will be better, so we can go back to a normal schedule,” he said.

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