MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s crunch time in the kitchen of J. Selby’s in St. Paul on Thanksgiving day.
“Anybody who comes to the door gets a meal,” said J. Selby’s owner Matt Clayton.
The staff is volunteering their time preparing the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey. J. Selby’s is a fully plant-based restaurant.
“We’ve got mashed potatoes, we’ve got stuffing, we’ve got a wild rice and brown rice pilaf with squash, black beans and corn in it, gravy,” Clayton said.
And don’t forget the roll and cranberry sauce. There was a line out the door within minutes of opening.
“It’s actually really exciting,” said a customer. “I wasn’t sure how many people would be here, and it feels really positive.”
This is the second year J. Selby’s has opened its door for a free Thanksgiving meal. And while there are plenty of vegetarians and vegans at the tables, they don’t discriminate. Everyone is welcome here.
“There’s lots of people who don’t have anything for Thanksgiving, or need things for Thanksgiving,” Clayton said. “It’s our opportunity to be able to give that back.”
While the restaurant picks up the tab, donations are encouraged for a good cause. Last year, the money went to Toys For Tots, and this year it will benefit the homeless.
“Part of being thankful is being able to give to people no matter what you have, so we’re really happy to help out with that,” said St. Paul resident Tory Maanum.
Last year they raised $700, and they’re hoping to raise $1,000 this year. The money will support the people living at the Franklin-Hiawatha encampment near downtown Minneapolis.
Clayton said J. Selby’s would close at 6 p.m. Thursday night, or whenever they ran out of food. The restaurant also offers a Community Bowl daily, which allows customers to pay what they can for a meal.