Thanksgiving tradition: Kriner’s Diner serves up free meals to go

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 4:58 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - At Kriner’s Diner it’s been a tradition for nearly a decade: owner Andy Kriner and his family work side by side to prepare and serve 400 Thanksgiving meals to anyone who wants one, for free.

The meals are all served to go, drive-through style. They’re available for as many people as are in the vehicle.

“We don’t care why people come here to get a Thanksgiving meal, it absolutely does not matter,” said owner Andy Kriner. “We just do it for fun, and it’s just to give back to the community for one day.”

The Thanksgiving tradition has been going on for nine years. Kriner noted the holiday is a time to put differences aside.

While the meals are free, many people chose to make a donation to one of Kriner’s favorite charities, The Children’s Lunchbox. Last year, Kriner said they raised a record $4,300 for the charity and were hopeful they might do well again this year. Judging from the line of cars snaking through the diner parking lot and well down A Street, it’s possible they might.

Kriner said he expected to serve about 400 meals between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the event ends, but he isn’t doing it alone. Scores of relatives help out with the cooking and serving, and some of the food is donated. Food wholesaler Sysco Alaska donates a dozen turkeys every year, according to Kriner, and Café Europa Bakery regularly donates 400 dinner rolls.

Kriner said he enjoys the Thanksgiving tradition of serving others but for the past nine years it has kept him from having a regular sit-down meal with family. This year, he said, that was changing. When the last customer leaves they plan to head home, count their blessings and enjoy a family meal.

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