Turkey, French style: Restaurant owner reports strong Thanksgiving reservations

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Vincent Gagliano has opened his Winter Park restaurant’s doors for 24 years. This year, he made it to the quarter-century mark.

Despite the fact that many families stay home for the holiday, and turkey isn’t a traditional French dish, Gagliano said 130 people reserved tables at his restaurant, Chez Vincent, which equals his capacity and what he sees on a typical Saturday.

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Most Thursdays, he only serves around 30 people.

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“I have the same people who come every year for Thanksgiving,” Gagliano said.

Gagliano said he and the other four restaurants that open around downtown Winter Park cater to families who do not want to bother cooking a large bird on their own.

He only opens for dinner, giving his staff time to be with their own families while still earning some income. He addresses the cuisine question by putting two French spins on turkey-featuring dishes: one with Dijon mustard and the other with fresh cranberries.

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Gagliano said he’s proud to still be open and catering to his neighborhood customers after the worst year of his business career.

“I took that [2020 calendar] and I burned it,” he said, making a tearing motion with his hands. “I want to erase that year.”

He said his restaurant is prepared to grow next year, and of course, he’ll be open for Christmas dinner too.

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