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Tulsa Restaurant Owner Says "Thanks" On Thanksgiving Day

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Frank Al Chami is the owner of Franks Café at 54th and Mingo Frank Al Chami is the owner of Franks Café at 54th and Mingo
Frank says the right thing to do was open his doors for a free meal. Frank says the right thing to do was open his doors for a free meal.

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6.

TULSA, OK -- Thanksgiving Day is a time for family and a good meal, but a down economy means that the traditional turkey dinner may be hard to afford for some Tulsans. 

So a generous Tulsa restaurant owner stepped in, to say thanks and give to his loyal customers.

Frank Al Chami, owner of Franks Cafe at 54th and Mingo loves to serve. 

What better day to serve than Thanksgiving.

"It feels excellent, it's one of the best days in my life," said Frank Al Chami. 

This year, Al Chami is reviving a tradition he started nearly three decades ago, free Thanksgiving Day dinners to anyone in need or anyone who's hungry. 

"That's the day when everybody eat too much, we would like to think of the people that are not as fortunate as we are, you know," said Frank Al Chami. 

"We love it," said Art Turner. 

Turner came here with his son.  They're enjoying the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and just about anything else Al Chami could fit on the buffet line.  

The Turners and other diners say without Frank's generosity a holiday meal may not have been possible.  

"We wouldn't have had a Thanksgiving," said Art Turner. 

"We couldn't afford it, we couldn't afford to go out for a meal," said Charlene Bailey, Franks Cafe customer. 

Al Chami started the free Thanksgiving Day dinner 28 years ago but spent the last decade taking the holiday off.  But then the recession hit and a number of Frank's customers lost their jobs. 

He says the only thing to do, the right thing to do was open his doors for a free meal on Thanksgiving Day. 

"It's very important to pay them back because they helped me raise my kids, I got six kid and they been supporting me for twenty-five years, I got to be there for when they need me too," said Frank Al Chami. 

On Thursday Al Chami got help from some of his longtime customers, people like Lesli Conard have volunteered to serve as the wait staff. 

She says Frank's Cafe is a special place. 

"It's more like home," said Lesli Conard. 

Frank doesn't just give out free meals on Thanksgiving he also provides close to a hundred meals to those in need every month.

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