Lufkin restaurant continues 15-year tradition of serving community on Christmas Eve

Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 4:54 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 24, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - For 15 years, Destin Sabani, owner of the Manhattan Fine Dining Restaurant in Lufkin, has prepared 500 plates of spaghetti for the community on Christmas Eve to help people during the holidays.

“Everybody should be happy and enjoy the season,” Sabani said.

The community takes notice as they lineup for the annual tradition, like Larry Lofton who’s gotten food twice now during the holidays.

“It actually makes me proud to see this. So happy to see this,” Lofton said.

Sabani starts preparing gallons of sauce earlier in the week to get more 60 pounds of spaghetti ready.

“The sauce takes longer to cook,” Sabani said. “You cannot do it today so you have to cook in the past.”

Then they prepare nearly 70 pounds of meat on Christmas Eve morning. And all the food goes to people who show up, free of charge and no questions asked.

Sabani said the last few years have made the event even more important with the pandemic and other things making people even more in need of help during the holidays.

“Especially this year having in mind the inflation,” Sabani said.

And helping during the holidays doesn’t stop there, as many people use the food themselves to give back. Katherine Williams got plates of food and handed them out at the senior center to people who wouldn’t have been able to show up themselves.

“Well it’s Christmas, it’s the holidays and it feels good to me,” Williams said.

And Lofton said the food was needed when he got some unexpected visitors.

“We had some family members come up unexpectedly,” Lofton said. “I had no idea what I was going to make to help them out.”

And said it’s good that someone in the community is doing something to help those in need on Christmas Eve.

“I’m just glad someone is helping.”