Restaurants feel needed on Thanksgiving

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2005

VIdalia &8212; Comfort Suites Riverfront hadn&8217;t originally planned to serve a Thanksgiving dinner, but something changed the hotel&8217;s plans &8212; Hurricane Katrina.

&8220;We&8217;ve opened because we have a lot of out of town guests in our hotel,&8221; Comfort Suites Restaurant Manager Lana Vestal said. &8220;Many of them are evacuees who don&8217;t have a place to go.&8221;

The restaurant will serve breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m., then close down to prepare for the buffet dinner from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for $9.95. Local residents are invited to come, and Vestal said she&8217;s received good response already.

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&8220;Many locals have told me they&8217;re coming, so we&8217;re expecting a good crowd,&8221; Vestal said.

But Comfort Suites isn&8217;t the only local restaurant that will be catering to the non-cooking crowd this Thanksgiving. A number of local eateries will be open at least part of their usual hours to serve some traditional holiday fare.

At Ryan&8217;s Family Steak House in Natchez, General Manager Keary Baskin expects a good turnout for his restaurant&8217;s Thanksgiving meals.

&8220;We do pretty good business on Thanksgiving, even with closing at 7 p.m.,&8221; Baskin said.

Ryan&8217;s will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving.

In Vidalia, Imogene&8217;s restaurant will also be open.

Owner Von Manchester has only had the restaurant for three months, but he thought he would try it, particularly when some of his employees expressed an interest in working.

&8220;People have to eat on Thanksgiving, so we&8217;re giving it a try,&8221; Manchester said. &8220;Some of our workers are from the prisoner release program, and they wanted to work. They would rather be out working so I talked to a few other people and got a crew together.&8221;

Imogene&8217;s will have some of its usual menu items in addition to Thanksgiving specials, including a selection of homemade pies for dessert. The restaurant will close at 3 p.m. so employees can spend time with their families.

Calypsos Buffet, located in the Isle of Capri Casino, will have a buffet meal from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for $12.95.

Supervisor Gladys Fells said the restaurant typically serves about 400 customers during lunch and dinner on Thursdays, and she expects a similar number for Thanksgiving.

&8220;We might get more people from out of town than we usually do, but I expect about the same number total as usual,&8221; Fells said.