“It’s something pretty cool they’ve done,” Vaughn says. “They call it the ‘Free Bird.’ It’s a free meal. It’s not even just a place that’s open on Thanksgiving. It’s a place that’s offering a free Thanksgiving meal to anybody that wants to come in.”
The restaurant will be open between noon and 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. And, just because the meal is free, don’t expect Slow Bone to skimp on anything.
“It is not a meager meal, either,” Vaughn says. “This is smoked turkey and all the trimmings you could imagine.”
The restaurant has been serving up free turkey and sides since it opened.
“When Slow Bone opened, the owner was Jack Perkins at the time – there’s a new ownership now but they’re continuing the tradition – he started it as a way to get people together on Thanksgiving Day who were in need,” Vaughn says. “And that’s certainly ‘in need’ because maybe they were homeless or can’t afford a meal, but also just people who were in need of a good community to share Thanksgiving with.”
There are no requirements for who gets the free meal – anyone who walks in can eat.
“Certainly the idea behind it was that people who might need it, like the homeless, could do it, but it’s certainly not a soup kitchen feel,” Vaughn says. “It’s basically like you’re walking into your regular old BBQ joint and it just happens to have a set Thanksgiving menu.”
The restaurant isn’t just for people who are there to consume turkey, either.
“It’s also open to people who aren’t just there for a meal,” Vaughn says. “They certainly take volunteers who want to come in and help serve as well.”
And Vaughn’s own plans for Thanksgiving?
“They’re not asking me to man the smoker today,” Vaughn says. “Just hanging out at the in-laws’ house having a good old roasted one.”