Turkey day tradition: Pancakes for a cause at Chip’s

(Photo: Shutterstock)

ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) – Food is a big part of Thanksgiving, but it’s not just turkey. Eggs and pancakes at Chip’s are a tradition for many families. Riley Cohutt has been coming here for 9 years. How old is Riley? “Nine,” he said to laughter at the family table.

This is the 12th year the Chip’s restaurant chain has done a charity breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It’s now an official tradition for the Durkee family.

“We do it every year, and I don’t really get to see my brothers a lot anymore because they’re all at college all the time, so it’s nice to always have them home so much,” Stephanie Durkee said.

“We enjoy it because, you know, with all the kids, some in college, some in school, it’s the one time of the year where we really all get a chance to be together at one time,” said Orange resident Charlie Panico.

Chip’s is known for its many varieties of pancakes, but they keep it simple for the Thanksgiving fundraiser.

“So you come in, it’s $12 a person, and the $12 goes directly to the charity that we do the event for,” explained Dina Bajko, or the family that owns Chip’s Restaurant.

Now that Chip’s has expanded into other towns, other locations are raising money for things like Make A Wish and Operation Hope. The restaurant in the town of Orange is raising money for Relay for Life, which bills itself as the world’s largest cancer fighting movement. All the money collected goes directly to those charities. Some of the wait staff even donate their tips.

“I’ve been involved with Relay for Life in this town now for 9 or 10 years,” said George Geane of Orange. “With Chips as one of our major sponsors, we like to bring it home to this community here and get the awareness out to everybody.”

There is a serious concern when enjoying a big pancake breakfast on Thanksgiving: Do you still have room for turkey after you’ve filled up on Chip’s great pancakes? We put that question to 9 year-old Riley Cohutt.

“Yeah,” he said.

All right, that ends that debate. Eat up, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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