Polk restaurant offering free Thanksgiving dinner

A 50-seat, family-owned Polk restaurant that has won rave reviews and a spate of trophies for serving the best wings is changing up its menu next week.

“We usually were closed on Thanksgiving but not this year,” said Chasity Zahner, co-owner with her husband Todd of the Country Grub Restaurant on Main Street in Polk. “This year we are going to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and it is open free to anyone who would like to join us.”

The noon to 3 p.m. dinner will be offered on a first come, first served basis, and reservations won’t be accepted. The only caveat is that the communal gathering will be available “while supplies last,” said Zahner.

“We always cooked Thanksgiving for our entire family and we thought, ‘why not do it for everyone?’ There are a lot of single people, veterans, moms and dads sick of cooking. So, our family will be here volunteering. And, everybody has supported us and we wanted to give back,” she said.

In putting out an announcement two weeks ago about the public Thanksgiving dinner, the Country Grub owners have been “overwhelmed” by the response.

“So many people are donating funds or food and everyone is coming together to help,” said Zahner. “Every penny that comes in, not just a portion, will be donated to a little boy, Philip Steigerwald of Franklin, who has been ill.”

The Steigerwald youngster, five-year-old son of Jeff and Wendy Steigerwald, was diagnosed with a late stage cancer nearly three years ago. A switch in antibody treatments and his inclusion in a treatment trial have left him cancer-free.

Earlier this fall, the elementary school student sponsored a pay-it-forward project, one that featured the sale of lemonade and baked goods during a Franklin High School football game and again at Applefest, to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

The international charity funds cancer-research projects at health organizations across the U.S. and Canada.

“We’ve got 20 turkeys, maybe more, because we want to feed a lot of people,” said Zahner. “So, just come and enjoy.”