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Tallahassee man continues Thanksgiving Day tradition begun in 1980

He moved to Tallahassee to go to Florida State
Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-23 17:13:43-05
  • For the last 43 years, a Tallahassee man has spent Thanksgiving Day cooking for others.
  • For some who are new to Tallahassee, this is the first year away from family for the holiday.
  • Watch the video above to hear from one cook who is working to help others and a new neighbor who is enjoying time with new friends.


While many people are spending time with family on this Thanksgiving, others are spending their holiday at work.

"I have been open and cooking on Thanksgiving and Christmas all my life." David Wendland says he's pretty good with a Thanksgiving Day meal. "Because we have cooked every Thanksgiving since 1980."

But, it's not cooking in his home kitchen.

"I've never spent since I moved to Tallahassee to go to Florida state have I ever spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family."

That's because Wendland has served people Thanksgiving meals for 43 years straight.

He’s done so recently as the owner of Taste Budz catering with his employees Justin and Nicholas.

"There are three of us, and we do the work of six."

Something he says is, "awesome. We love cooking. It's like Thanksgiving all week around here.”

He isn't the only one making meals for people to pick up this Thanksgiving.

Zina Hutton picked up food from Blu Halo. She's spending her first thanksgiving in Tallahassee away from her family. New friends are keeping her company this year.

"I'm like 8 hours away from my mom and this is my second thanksgiving after my dad passed away last year, so it's good to have people."

She says it is also making the holiday easier.

"It's going to really cut down on the work."

It's not just the effort that makes some grab catering on the holiday.

Experts with the American Farm Bureau say the cost of a Thanksgiving Day meal has gone up by 25 percent since 2019.

While the cost is estimated to be slightly down from last year, Wendland says many of his customers are still noticing high prices in the grocery stores.

"Just to make squash casserole you need ten ingredients. It's more economical to just come in and get the completed plate."

He served over 350 families this Thanksgiving alone.

He says it's his specialty.

"We're practiced at it."

Wendland says he plans on continuing his tradition this Christmas.