By MARNIE McALLISTER
Record Assistant Editor
Vincenzo’s, the fine dining Italian restaurant in downtown Louisville, provided a Thanksgiving meal to 225 needy people in the undercroft of the Cathedral of the Assumption on Nov. 20. It’s a tradition that Chef Agostino Gabriele estimates he and his co-workers have continued for about two decades.
“This is something we look forward to every year,” said Gabriele, a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Assumption. “The community of Louisville has been so nice to us, we feel like we need to give something back. This seems like a way to do it. We do it with pleasure. At Vincenzo’s, everything we do, we try to do with pleasure.”
He noted that he and seven employees of the restuarant who served the traditional Thanksgiving fare volunteered their time. Among them were Willie Bizzle, Jonathan Tarullo, Tracy Johnson, Mike Brown, Kenneth Thomas, George Stinson and Steve Stinson. They were joined by friends and family, including Barbara Owings and two seventh-graders from Holy Trinity School — Evan Vetter, nephew of the Stinson brothers, and Nick Poole, Vetter’s friend.
They provided the same dishes served in countless homes across the nation last Thursday, with the exception, perhaps, of a pumpkin cheesecake that diners said was delicious.
“Delectable,” was one of the words Buck Westbrook used to describe the meal. “It was phenomenal. It was outstanding.”
He said he was grateful for the meal and added, “The gratitude and the cheer and the love was prevalent in the whole building.”
Vincenzo’s Thanksgiving lunch was exceptional in its quality and variety, diners said, but there is nothing unusual about lunch at the Cathedral. Impoverished people receive a simple lunch of soup and sandwiches at the Cathedral evey day of the year, including on Christmas and Thanksgiving Day.
In fact, on Thanksgiving Day this year, the Chivatero family served lunch. Jack and Jeannine Chivatero — who are regular volunteers for the lunch program — bring their children and grandchildren to serve on Thanksgiving Day each year, said Molly Chesney, coordinator of volunteers for the lunch program.
Chesney said the Cathedral serves about 130 lunches daily from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. Those who eat there regularly tell her they enjoy the special meals, such as the one provided by Vincenzo’s.
“They’re accustomed to getting the soup and the sandwich,” Chesney said. “They really like these special days. It makes them feel like they have a family. Everyone likes to sit down at a nice table every once in a while. I think it lifts them up and let’s them know we do love and care about them.”
The lunch program will have its annual Christmas cookout on Dec. 9. It will be provided by St. Albert the Great Church.
Groups and individuals alike are welcome to volunteer in the lunch program. For more information, contact Chesney at 657-5211.