El Sombrero continues tradition

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By Mercy Lopez

El Sombrero Restaurant is once again opening its doors to the community and offering a free turkey meal with all the fixings on Thanksgiving.

But there will be one small change this year: No carry-out orders will be allowed.

The local restaurant, located at 825 Mills Ave. has been providing the hot turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing for starters meal for residents and visitors free of charge on Thanksgiving since 1996.

Victor Ramirez, son of restaurant’s owner Helen Rivera-Gonzales, said providing the meal is a family tradition.

The tradition was started when Rivera-Gonzales first purchased the restaurant, as a way of giving back to the community. He recalled one Thanksgiving when their small family went to have a Thanksgiving meal at another local food establishment, but it wasn’t the Thanksgiving meal they had hoped for.  

Rivera-Gonzales told her children that if she ever owned the restaurant she would provide a free Thanksgiving meal every year as long as she possibly could. Last year several hundred people ate the 14 turkeys, six hams, 100 quarts of mashed potatoes, roughly 26 quarts of gravy and 48 quarts of stuffing the restaurant prepared.

This year the traditional meal starts at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. or until the food runs out.

Ramirez said there is also a need for volunteers to help serve the meal.