A few days beforehand, he hauls in sofas, recliners, oriental rugs, even a couple of fake fireplaces, and decorates a rec hall to resemble a cozy living room. Candlesticks and cloth napkins are placed on the tables, curtains are hung in the windows, and adjoining rooms are set up for guests to relax and get to know each other over appetizers: chips and dip in one room and cheese and crackers in the next.
“This isn’t about the food, though,” Macaulay said. “It’s about having a place to go. Silence is unbearable, especially on Thanksgiving. My goal is always to replicate the feeling of having a nice dinner in somebody’s home.”
Reservations usually come in at the last minute, he said, “because everyone is hoping for a better offer.” After 32 Thanksgivings, Macaulay can laugh about it and never takes offense. He’s made dozens of friends and an equal number of memories.
“There was a guy one year who’d just lost his wife,” he said. “And after dinner, he put on her old apron and helped me to do the dishes.”