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Two Star Market to host community meal: ‘Thanksgiving is kind of a day you have to give back’

on November 23, 2021

Two Star Market will host its 19th annual Thanksgiving dinner for the community, a free meal that 1,000 or more people are expected to enjoy in the Dimond District on Thursday.

Financed by co-owner Farouq Alawdi, the meal brings together local business owners and volunteers to serve a traditional Thanksgiving menu of smoked turkey, collard greens, and yams, along with Mexican, and Middle Eastern dishes. 

“This market and being in this community is a part of us,” Alawdi said. “Thanksgiving is kind of a day you have to give back”.

The meal is an Alawdi family tradition that started during Ramadan in Yemen, where Alawdi’s grandfather and then his father would invite the community to a meal to break the daily fast. Hundreds of people would come, Alawdi said. 

My dad passed away but we continue this tradition. That’s something that’s important because it stems from back home,” he said. 

Alawdi’s father immigrated to Oakland in the late 1970’s and in 1984, opened the mini market at 2020 MacArthur Blvd. that is now run by Alawdi and his brothers. In 2002, the Alawdis built a kitchen in the store,  which led to the in-house barbecue restaruant, SmOakRing, and a new holiday tradition. 

“We had lines going all the way up to the streets,”Alawdi said. 

In 2019, the event attracted about 1,000 people. Last year, because of restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, only about 400 people came. 

Two Star Market
Head chef Phalecia Anderson will prepare a Thanksgiving meal for 1,000 or so people at Two Star Market. (Williamena Kwapo)

Most of the meal will be prepared by head chef Phalecia Anderson, with the help of  Carlos Hernandez. The crowd size doesn’t worry Henderson.

The process is fun,” she said. “Trying to feed like hundreds of people is like a big thing. It means love”

Two Star Market will have help from neighbors Dimond Slice Pizza and La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant. Guests can expect a lively multicultural celebration with live music, games and food.

“Last year it was grab and go,” Hernandez said. “This year it will be more about community because people will sit down and have a buffet.”

Dinner will be served from 1 to 4 p.m. Guests are asked to wear masks when not eating and masks will be provided to anyone who needs them. 

Volunteers are needed. If you’d like to help, text 510-847-9398.

This story was updated to correct the spelling of chef Phalecia Anderson’s name.

Two Star Market
Flyer for Two Star Market’s annual Thanksgiving dinner. (Williamena Kwapo)

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