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 the 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. 

“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. 

“The preparation for thanksgiving is crazy, we prep the turkeys and start cooking them the night before. After that, it’s an assembly line, with our family prepping everything early the next morning when we start cooking all the sides yams, veggies, stuffing, cranberries. This traditional meal will of course be serviced dessert that was provided by our great customers. This year will be different as we will not be able to sit and talk with our friends that we have come to know over the years. But it was important to my family and me to keep this tradition going even in these challenging times,” he explained.

The post reads, “With all that’s going on this year we can not and will not stop a tradition that’s has been going on for over twenty years! Every year our community has helped us give back by providing free meals on Thanksgiving day and this year will be no exception. Due to the countless restrictions this year we can’t have anyone enjoy their meals here with us but that won’t stop us from bringing a little joy to our community.”

It continued, “This year we will be giving away our free traditional turkey! Meals to anyone and everyone who stops by but it will be to pick up and take away only. A full meal including dessert will be provided so please help spread the word again like everyone always does to ensure everyone knows and no one goes hungry this holiday! Anyone who needs a meal has nowhere to go, can’t figure out how to cook a Turkey, or just simply wants to stop by and say hi and grab something to eat is more than welcome and encouraged to come by. We love seeing you all and can’t wait to make this another memorable thanksgiving! God bless.”

Read More: Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving in Hoboken and Jersey City

Last year, they served about 350 people, Mario told us.

marios classic pizza thanksgiving hoboken

The Meal Details

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.

Iron Monkey in Jersey City will also be hosting its 22nd Thanksgiving Dinner event in which they too offer free meals to the community. See here for details.

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

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