KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Dairy Winkle, the beloved Kanawha County restaurant that sadly caught on fire earlier this year, will be hosting its annual free Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, their annual Thanksgiving celebration will be from noon to 6 p.m. It will be free until all the food is gone; the dinner has been a tradition since 2011.

There will be no other sales since they are not ready to open back up to the public yet.

The family-owned restaurant, which can be found in the 100 block of Campbells Creek Drive, caught on fire in January 2023.

Days later, they said in a Facebook Live that they will be reopening. While the original reopening date was set for sometime in 2023, Paco Ellison, one of the owners, told 13 News that setbacks in the rebuild were delaying their reopening to the beginning of 2024.

Ellison cites putting up the drywall as a significant factor in delaying their rebuild. He expected that project to last two weeks, but it went on for three months. He says that came down to limited manpower, only having two volunteers in the building to work on it.

Local residents said Dairy Winkle was more than just a restaurant. They said Ellison is always finding ways to give back to the community. On top of the free Thanksgiving meals, in 2022, the restaurant also assisted with flood relief for Campbells Creek residents.

Danielle Collins, who has worked there for four years, said she’s hoping the community can give back to the family who gave them so much.

“I hope that everybody pulls together and helps him in his time of need,” Collins said. “He’s a great man, he deserves everything, definitely not this, but I hope everybody pulls together to help him out.”