Local restaurant serves up Christmas dinner traditions - KCTV5

Local restaurant serves up Christmas dinner traditions

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Christmas is just one day away, and a Kansas City family is already preparing for Sunday's dinner. That is because they could serve more than 500 guests.

It is not just charities offering up food for the needy, one mom-and-pop restaurant at 12th Street and Brooklyn Avenue has made a tradition out of turning Christmas into a team effort that extends the meaning of family.

Dorriss Lyman has been putting the soul in Papa Lew's Soul Food for 30 years.

Her husband, the restaurant's namesake, died in 1992.  Now her son is at the helm.

"We've had customers who have watched me grow up in the restaurant for the last 30 years, and so when they come in it is a pleasure to introduce them to my children," said owner Marvin Lyman.

Even the school kids who work here are like family.

While Dorriss takes command to get the Friday night buffet set up, the Christmas turkeys are cooling on the counter ready for a feast that began 17 years ago.

"I thank God that God has done blessed me, and I know how they feel because I come from a family of 16 children," said co-founder Dorriss Lyman.

From noon to 4 p.m., regular customers will turn into staff for the day, volunteering to serve those who can't afford a dinner of their own.

"We got one young man who has a van, and goes under the bridges and brings people here," said Dorriss.

Not only will those folks get food, they will also get love, Dorriss Lyman style.

"I don't do handshakes," said Dorriss.  "I tell everybody I gotta save my hands because that is for my cooking."

Last year was slow because of all the snow, but the year before they served 500 people.

They re not afraid to run out this year, not with SIX hams and 15 turkeys to go around.

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