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Remodel, pandemic prevent a Des Moines Thanksgiving tradition

Chuck's Restaurant won't serve its thousands of Thanksgiving meals to Des Moines residents this year.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Thousands of Iowans get their Thanksgiving meal each from Chuck's Restaurant, but that won't be happening this year. 

The restaurant on 6th Ave in Des Moines is undergoing a massive remodel, which includes fixing the roof and making structural repairs to the 125-year-old building. 

Due to the pandemic, there were delays getting the work started. Completion is expected in six to eight months. 

The owners of Chuck's thought about doing curbside pickup, but that has limitations.

"It's heartbreaking. It's not fun, but I think it's in the best interest," said Emily Jones, owner of Chuck's. "You know, we have 300 volunteers. We serve almost 4,000 meals. Just a lot of the people we serve are high-risk. It just, it would be bad."

With the high cost of food, some of their major donors were unable to contribute this year. Half of their donated pies are homemade, and with the coronavirus they wouldn't be able to accept them. 

Jones said she and her husband, who have owned the business for six years, are saving up to "go big" next year. .

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