KAPAA — Free dinner. Free toys. Fellowship. Friends.
Add it up and it’s clear the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Chicken in a Barrel BBQ.
Once again, Mike and Anne Pierce provided the annual gift open to all on Wednesday — and hundreds responded to the restaurant on Kuhio Highway on a sunny afternoon.
“I’ve never seen as many people as I did today,” said James “Kimo” Rosen, a Kapaa man who stopped by for the meal and a chance to talk story.
Guests, estimated at more than 500, were treated to a feast. The menu included chicken, turkey, homemade mashed potatoes, green beans, pie and cookies. Keiki received toys and candy canes, too.
A line formed early and tables were filled throughout the day. It was a fun, festive atmosphere and strangers and ohana chatted while enjoying food and drink.
Chicken in a Barrel crew, despite working hard to keep up with demand, mingled with visitors when they got the chance.
It was common to hear many saying:
“How are you?”
“Nice to see you.”
Mike Pierce said they used to do a similar outreach in Murphys, Calif., and wanted to continue it on Kauai when they arrived about a decade ago.
It’s a Christmas gift, he said, simply because he feels blessed by God and loves giving back to the community.
“You really feel welcome there,” Rosen said. “They make you feel like you’re part of the ohana.”
Rosen said it might have been even busier than years past because of the storm that delivered wind and rain that knocked out power around the island, so many were thankful to find a place to be with others on Christmas.
“People were just burned out and needed somewhere to go,” he said.
They found what they were looking for at Chicken in a Barrel BBQ.