Businesses help UNT students enjoy holiday

Businesses help UNT students enjoy holiday

November 21
16:39 2012

Taylon Chandler
Contributing Writer

Whether it’s roasted, deep-fried or tofu, turkey is a Thanksgiving staple. However, not all students can make it home for the holiday.
In an effort to address this problem, restaurants and grocery stores are making more of an effort to cater to people who will not have the benefit of enjoying a home-cooked meal with their family.

“It’s tied back to your culture, what you grow up with,” said Erica Sullivan, dining room manager for The Club at Gateway Center. “I think that’s what students at the holidays look for, even if they can’t go home. So even when you’re sitting here with your UNT family, you’re still feeling that comfort of home because the food reminds you of that.”

To accommodate students with limited access to a kitchen or knowledge of cooking, some grocery stores are staying open on Thanksgiving and offering pre-prepared meals.

Wes Richardson, the store manager for the Brookshire’s on Teasley Lane, said the store will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will offer pre-cooked turkeys and boxed dinners.

“We’ve been preparing for almost two months,” said Richardson, who estimated the store’s sales increase 30 to 40 percent this time of year.
Ed Wilson, one of the store managers at the Kroger on University Drive, said they also offer pre-cooked meals, but they will be closed on Thanksgiving.

For students who prefer to let someone else do the cooking, there are several restaurants that offer a traditional turkey dinner.

“We’re extremely busy on Thanksgiving,” Mark Graham, assistant manager at Cracker Barrel said. “We do almost $25,000 in one day. We do have takeout meals, but the majority of our business is bulk orders.”

Sullivan also suggested Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Boston Market as options for students who want the feast without the fuss.

“I think right now they really have easy access to a lot of meals,” Sullivan said.

Some students do not have problems finding the food so much as someone to enjoy it with. Sullivan said it is common for her students to pair up over the holiday if one can’t make it home.

“I think that’s a great resource for students, finding someone to go home with,” Sullivan said. “That’s how you get your UNT family.”
Charlie Foster, general manager for The Club at Gateway Center, said his career at UNT has shown him how the holiday works as a way to bring students closer together.

“What I found interesting coming to a university is there are people from all parts of the world who don’t traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving, and now they’re here and they want to get involved,” Foster said. “What I’ve seen from time to time is an informal community, so to speak. They get together and celebrate it and form their own kind of meal.”

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