This Hoboken Pizzeria Has Served FREE Thanksgiving Meals for 20+ Years

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Thanksgiving is 100% a holiday for family and friends. Unfortunately, not everyone has a place to go for the holiday season – whether it be circumstance, distance, or something else. But a local pizzeria in Hoboken — Mario’s — is making the holidays that much more inclusive, as it hosts a free {yes, free — for anyone and everyone} Thanksgiving meal every year. The meal, according to its owner, Mario Albunia, is for Hudson County locals in need of a warm + inviting place to go for the holiday and has become a 20-year tradition that means so much to our Mile Square community. Keep reading to learn more about Mario’s Classic Pizza in Hoboken and how its owner started this tradition.

marios classic pizza

The humble pizza shop on the corner of 8th and Garden has been family-run for the last 30 years. Owned by Mario Albunia, this local pizzeria has been serving the local community a delicious slice since 1986. On the menu there are more than 40 different options to choose from — think pizzas, subs, sandwiches, salads, and so much more. But on Thanksgiving, pizza goes to the backburner for 24 hours.

See More: Mario’s Pizza: One of Hoboken’s Classic Slices

Mario’s Thanksgiving Tradition

marios thanksgiving

“The dinner is for any and everyone who wants or needs it for the holiday — it doesn’t matter why,” Mario explained, noting that local residents donate turkeys to the restaurant, and Mario and his staff + family cook the entire meal themselves {no matter how many turkeys!} to ensure that everyone gets a meal. The feast is then enjoyed right there in the pizzeria throughout the day for free. 

The first year, two decades ago, Mario’s only had one turkey to enjoy. By 2018, the restaurant had over 20 turkeys to serve to guests. And this year is no exception.

“It started as a joke, because I didn’t want to go to my wife’s family’s house down the shore and leave Hoboken,” Mario explained. “But then it just grew — into what it is today.”

And the people who come range from young to old, locals to non-locals. “It’s college students who can’t go home for the holiday, people who don’t have family in the area, those who don’t have the means to make dinner, and people who just want to spend time at the shop with us,” Mario told Hoboken Girl. 

Last year, they had 285 people throughout the six-hour span. This year, Mario’s hoping for more. “I hope we get at least 300,” he shared.

marios classic pizza thanksgiving hoboken

Read More: Where to Eat on Thanksgiving Day in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Weehawken

The 2019 Meal Details

This year, the Thanksgiving meal will be held from 1:00PM-7:00PM at 742 Garden Street in Hoboken. No reservations or pre-booking needed, just bring yourself and an appetite. This meal is open to any and everyone in the community who wants to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with the community — all for FREE — throughout the day.

Thanks for keeping this tradition alive, Mario! Spread kindness today + every day.

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