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Denver restaurant gives out free holiday meals

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

Race City BBQ is experiencing its first Christmas since opening in Denver earlier this year, and, already, the restaurant’s owners are looking to give back to the community.
On Saturday, the restaurant, located at 3650 N.C. 16 N., is providing free holiday meals to those less fortunate members of the community.
Emily Swindell, who owns the business with her husband, G.T., told the Times-News this week that the intent was to offer the meals to “those who might not otherwise get one.”
She expects they will serve 75 meals to people who have reserved a place. The meals will include turkey, stuffing, casseroles, green beans and more.
“We have a passion for helping people at Christmas time,” she added.
Each year, she said they try to do something for someone, whether it be an individual family or the community as a whole. With small children of their own, the couple tries to reinforce the importance of helping others, she added.
Having previously operated restaurants in others parts of North Carolina and in Virginia, they had expressed interest in the facility of the former Ab’s Grill. When they received notice the spot was theirs, they jumped into action and took just a weekend to get it ready.
They cleaned up, installed new equipment in and otherwise prepared the facility to open on a Monday in August after having acquired the building the Friday before. However, a quick turnaround was something with which they had some prior experience.
Emily Swindell said they opened a restaurant in Chesapeake, Va., just two days after getting back from their honeymoon in 2006.
While she has a background in catering, her husband has more experience with concessions. Their previous restaurants have ranged from one that sat 125 people to another that was located in a food court at a mall.
Playing off their expertise, Race City provides both catering and delivery services.
Though Swindell said their menu items sell pretty evenly, she did note that the burgers and Philly cheesesteaks are among the most popular.
Business has been good so far, she added, noting that when you sell good food, word travels fast. The restaurant currently has five employees.
They are planning to host a grand-opening celebration on Jan. 5, with different specials to be offered.
For now, however, the restaurant is focused on bringing a little joy to 75 mouths this holiday season.
“We’re somebody different,” she said. “ … We actually do care.”
Race City BBQ is open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

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