This is an open letter to O’Neill’s, Beer Works, Fins, etc. in Salem, Ma. I am asking. I am imploring. I am begging for some small business eatery to come forward and pick up the Thanksgiving meal baton that Tavern in the Square dropped and kicked into the dirt.

Two weekends ago the centrally located Tavern in the Square, here in Salem Ma, did not open for Sunday Brunch. It was permanently closed. No sign on the door. But, little by little info flowed in. A Facebook post here. A tweet there. And a newspaper article or two.

Then this appears on their website and on the door: “Our Salem location is permanently closed. We would like to thank all of our loyal guests for their patronage over the last 10 years. We would also like to thank the city of Salem for allowing us to be part of such a great community. Please visit us at any of our other locations.”

My concern is that the closure of the Salem eatery also means an end to a 10-year tradition in which staff served up free turkey dinners to Veterans, the homeless, families in need, and senior citizens each Thanksgiving. The meals were always well attended, with lines sometimes going out the door. I know. I volunteered.

Over the years I saw:

  • An elderly man who came because his wife of 43 years had just passed, and he did not know what to do with himself alone on Thanksgiving. She always shushed him out of the kitchen when baking the turkey.
  • A veteran feeling forgotten from a forgotten war, meeting up with other veterans, some of them homeless.
  • 2 little girls, brought there by parents who could not afford a holiday meal that year, nursing their drinks, not realizing there were free refills.

My question to the owners of TIS, “what, you didn’t make enough money during October in Salem, Ma that you could not stay open into November? It’s not as if the entire chain closed.”

Staying open just long enough to provide the Thanksgiving meal service to the community would have been a classy way to say “thank you.”

Instead, substitute another word for “thank.”

Will some other small business dining establishment in Salem, Ma step up to serve the needy, homeless, elderly, and Vets this Thanksgiving?