Dorrie Sperry, chef and owner of , is responsible for feeding residents of Woodbury and neighboring towns on an almost daily basis.
But on Thanksgiving, Sperry had one goal: to feed her family and friends. And feed them she did, with a menu that included eggnog made from scratch, roasted root vegetables, sweet potato casserole with apples and of course, turkey -- all served at Dottie's Diner.
For the past five years, Sperry served Thanksgiving dinner for her family in the 1950s-style Woodbury diner. The tables are set with Thanksgiving place settings and butter molded into the shape of a turkey is placed at every table.
This year, Sperry made two turkeys to feed the family: one at 18 lbs. and the second at 20 lbs. She said she started hosting Thanksgiving dinner at the diner because her family is so large. Thirty to 40 people attend the dinner, she said.
An apricot and brie cheese appetizer with raspberries and walnuts was placed on the counter that normally is reserved for customers and their coffees. A large punch bowl with eggnog made from scratch was a popular treat.
The Thanksgiving menu was extensive: mixed green salad, creamed onions, roasted root vegetables, sweet potato casserole with apples, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy and homemade cranberry sauce with pecans, oranges and cinnamon sticks.
For dessert, the selection was equally as vast: pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple crisp, apple pie, chocolate cream pie, coconut cream pie, French pastries filled with almond whipped cream and chocolate truffles.
"Dorrie does it all," said Jodi McAllister, who attended the last four Dottie's Diner Thanksgivings.
While family members do come and help Sperry out, they acknowledge that most of the work is done before they arrive.
McAllister said Thanksgiving dinner at the diner is a homey family gathering that has reached tradition status.
Every year, there are familiar faces and some new ones too, said McAllister.
Herby Heiney was new to the diner scene this year, having just moved to Woodbury in August. He is friends with Sperry's nephew and his family is mainly in Oklahoma.
"I heard about this dinner," he said. "It's a much talked about event."
Last year, he was in Connecticut for a brief period of time but left two days before Thanksgiving. The Sperry family never let him forget it.
"They gave me a hard time and said: 'Next year, you can't miss it'," Heiney said, smiling.
McAllister agreed that it is the event of the year.
"You can't miss it," she said. "It's always so warm and inviting."