El Sombrero’s Thanksgiving meal set to go


By Eamon Baird

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TROY — El Sombrero Restaurant will serve its 29th annual free Thanksgiving meal at St. Patrick’s Soup Kitchen at 25 N. Mulberry St., in Troy, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 23.

The restaurant was forced to switch locations after a small fire in October, in addition to the unfortunate loss of the restaurant’s founder, Ruben Martinez Pelayo, on Oct. 27, who died following a battle with Pancreatic Cancer.

Pelayo started offering free Thanksgiving meals to feed the community in 1995. In November of 1998, El Sombrero moved to its current location. Last year, over 3,000 meals were served through the assistance of 30 volunteers.

El Sombrero issued the following statement on its Facebook page:

“We cannot thank St Patrick Soup Kitchen, Dick and their Board of Directors enough for their help, support and use of their facilities!! They’ve been a HUGE Blessing, and we couldn’t have been able to make this happen without them.”

Mark Earhart, marketing director for El Sombrero, said Pelayo was always giving food to shelters in the area, so they chose St. Patrick’s Soup Kitchen for this year’s Thanksgiving meal.

“He gave them a lot of meat products to use in the soup kitchens, both in Troy and up in Piqua and up at Bethany Center. So, St. Patrick’s were willing to let us have the kitchen in the facility, and they’re going to put the tent up, and it’s going to be heated. And it will be nice to come in and sit down and do it,” Earhart said.

Earhart added that the Thanksgiving meal will be dine-in only and that carry-out meals will not be available.

Troy firefighters responded to a call from the restaurant around 4 p.m. on Oct. 18 after there was reportedly smoke in the basement.

Wade Dexter, assistant fire chief, said the cause of the fire was due to buildup on the main oven.

“There was radiant heat from the floor and move the oven and remove the floor from behind the oven,” Dexter said.

The fire department was on the scene for a few hours. “Ultimately, the damage was minor, and nobody was hurt,” Dexter said.

While the restaurant is currently closed because of the fire damage, they are currently in the process of installing a new oven and repairing the floor and hope to reopen soon.

Even though the restaurant is closed, it will still host its Quilt Raffle contest on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at noon, located at 1700 N. County Road. 25A.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Thanksgiving meal can contact Volunteer Coordinator Melody Vallieu at 937-214-6838.

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