Restaurant Prepares Thanksgiving Day Buffet for 2,000
After Two Weeks of Preparation, The Meadows Will Host Its Annual Holiday Meal Thursday
Thanksgiving is only a day away and many families are just beginning their culinary preparations. For one local business, however, planning for the holiday meal started two weeks ago.
The Meadows' annual Thanksgiving Day buffet will feed a veritable army from 11am to 5pm, according to chef and business coordinator Russell Lebkuecher, who said the well-known Lower Saucon Township restaurant is preparing for approximately 2,000 customers.
"One thousand, five hundred and fifty four people have bought tickets so far, and we are booked up from 12pm to 2pm. We are still selling tickets from before 12pm and after 3pm, and we always have a few hundred people who just show up with out reservations," Lebkuecher said.
The Meadows will be serving nearly 600 pounds of turkey, 400 pounds of roast beef and 400 pounds of ham on Thursday. Sixteen hundred pounds of filling and more than a ton of mashed potatoes will also be served to hungry guests.
"It takes two weeks to make, and only a few hours to eat. It's crazy," Lebkuecher remarked.
The buffet will be staffed by a crew of 30 working in the dining halls, plus three cooks--including Lebkuecher--in the kitchen. To stage the serving of a feast of this scale with such a small staff, the chef has prepared in advance as many items as possible.
"I got up at one o'clock in the morning today to start making soup. I made 30 gallons of gravy already, and will make more on Thanksgiving morning. I have big burners set up on the balcony so I can cook 50-gallon pots of corn and green beans, and I have already gone through 10 cases of butter in prep work alone," Lebkuecher said.
The restaurant has also baked 500 pumpkin and apple pies that will be served, and an additional 500 which will be sold to various organizations in the community.
All three dining rooms in The Meadows will be used for the event, as well as three tables on the front deck. Each room will have its own buffet line, which combined will serve approximately 600 people an hour.
"We try to get the people in fast, serve them as quickly as possible, and let the next batch in," Lebkuecher explained.
Much like in a family home, The Meadows has stuck with tradition when planning the buffet. It has kept both its menu and prices the same for the past few years, despite increases in food costs. Tickets cost $15.95 for adults and $10.95 for children 5 to 12 years old. Children under 5 eat free.
"We're trying to help people by feeding them two or three plates, so when it comes down to it, we're serving almost 4,000 people," Lebkuecher said.
Apart from the items mentioned above, the buffet will offer two types of soup, a salad bar and penne in vodka sauce. A cash bar will also be available for patrons.
The Meadows is located at 1770 Meadows Road, just off Route 412, south of Hellertown.