Putting the "Giving" in Thanksgiving

Chef John Howie hosted about 600 guests at Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The guest list included Eastside families in need.

About 600 guests were expected at for Thanksgiving dinner, as chef and owner John Howie and 75 volunteers served Eastside families in need.

It was the ninth year that Howie organized the Thanksgiving dinner. Howie worked with , , Olive Crest, the and Sophia Way -- all Eastside nonprofits that help families in need -- to identify and invite the guests, said Cathy Lalley, marketing director of John Howie's restaurants, which include Seastar in Bellevue and Seattle and John Howie Steak at The Bravern.

The restaurant's vendors, including Costco, Meadowsweet, Charlie's Produce, Merlino Foods and Service Linen Supply, also donated the supplies for the Thanksgiving dinner, she said.

Howie's staff at Seastar spent several days preparing the traditional meal, which included vegetable plates and rolls for each table, 25 20-pound turkeys, 90 pounds of dry croutons for stuffing, 300 pounds each of Yukon gold potatoes and yams, 90 pounds of cranberry sauce, hundreds of dinner rolls and about 60 pumpkin pies.

On Thanksgiving, Howie and about 75 volunteers, which included staff from Seastar and his other restaurants, Howie's family and friends and volunteers at previous Thanksgiving dinners, seated and served each family. The volunteers included a pair of violinists who played holiday music while families enjoyed their meals.

“Each year we count our blessings at Seastar for the support of the people on the Eastside. This is our way of saying thanks and giving back to the community,” Howie said in a prepared statement.  “During these tough economic times, I really want to reach out to make sure that the spirit of the holidays includes everyone.”


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