Michigan Restaurant Owner Offers Free Meals to 'Lonely' Diners On Thanksgiving

| by Karin Sun
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While many restaurants offer discounts for those dining in large groups, a restaurant in the Detroit area is doing the opposite.

For the last 10 years, George's Senate Coney Island restaurant in Northville, Michigan, has offered a free all-you-can eat buffet to people dining alone on Thanksgiving day, ABC News reports.

On Nov. 12, a passerby noticed a sign posted in the window of the restaurant inviting those spending the holiday alone to come enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal, which includes a traditional hot turkey plate with mashed potatoes, Coney Island hot dogs and dessert.

"George's Thanksgiving Day Dinner. If anyone is home alone, come eat with us for free! All day," the sign reads. A photo of the sign has been posted on a Reddit discussion forum as well as the photo-sharing site Imgur, and has now gone viral.

George Dimopoulos, the owner of the restaurant, said the idea was inspired by his own life experiences.

"The reason I do this is because I was alone one time," he told ABC News. "I remember the good times and bad times."

Dimopoulos, who is originally from Greece, moved to the U.S. when he was 23 years old. He first left home when he was 12 and spent a period of time in Athens where he had to ask others for food.

After relocating to the U.S., Dimopoulos started several Greek-themed restaurants throughout the 1990s before opening his current establishment.

The restaurant owner told ABC News that 59 single people showed up to the restaurant's free all-day buffet on Thanksgiving in 2014, and 84 came the year before that. He said that most of the patrons were men or between the ages of 18 and 25.

He added that he does not mind if diners who are not financially needy take advantage of his deal.

"I don't question people when they ask for food," he told ABC News. "If they are alone, I give it to them anyway. I can see the way they look. Not many people go out by themselves."

Reddit commenters responding to the photo of the sign in the restaurant window commended Dimopoulos for his generosity.

"I actually just got chills from reading that sign," one poster said. "It really makes me happy to hear that people can have such good hearts."

Others said they would definitely take advantage of the offer if they could.

"I need this where I live," one user said. "Hate getting whatever fast food is open and being 'that' guy."

"If I can marry this restaurant I would in a heartbeat!" another commented.

Dimopoulos told ABC that the deal is not the best from a business perspective, but he is willing to put his devotion to the community before finances.

"I lose a little bit, but I feel good to help [the customers]," he said. "I hope the whole country gives back. People really appreciate it."

He added that he is flexible about offering similar free meals to single diners on other days of the year.

"[The deal] is actually all year round if people ask," he said. "Eighty people came in for Easter this year for both American and Greek Easter."

There are currently 86,189 homeless people in Michigan, 34,642 of whom are in the Detroit metro area, according to statistics published by the state's Campaign to End Homelessness. 

Sources: ABC News, Reddit, Michigan Campaign to End Homelessness / Photo credit: Imgur