Papa Nick’s in Denison is offering a free spaghetti meal delivered to area residents on Tuesdays beginning this week. As the company shifts to a delivery model during the ongoing health crisis facing the nation, Papa Nick’s took on a new challenge to feed the needy during the crisis.

Co-owner KJ Jahja said the restaurant will be offering up to 200 free spaghetti meals delivered to the homes of customers who call between the hours of 4-7 p.m. starting this Tuesday.

“So many people are getting laid off from work, some restaurants or other businesses are closing down, people are losing their jobs,” Jahja said. “We’re doing it delivery only so everyone can get access to this food and they don’t have to come out. We can bring it to them. They can order anything else they want, this is our special.”

Jahja is taking after his father and business partner, Ibrahim or “Papa Nick” who recently received the city’s “Moving Forward, Giving Back Award” for his generosity providing free Thanksgiving meals to the public over the years. Jahja said he wants to ensure everybody gets fed that needs food during these trying times.

Jahja said the restaurant is subject to a recently signed executive order Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Thursday asking restaurants to close their dining rooms for the next few weeks.

Jahja said he chose to shift to delivery using his existing employees rather than hiring a third party delivery company to ensure he could continue to keep his people employed. He said if he had gone to a third party company he would have had to furlough four employees. He said that was not an option for him.

The business is normally closed on Monday and Tuesday. He said for the time being they will be offering delivery and curbside pickup instead of dine in. The business also expanded its hours.

The restaurant employees 15 people. Jahja said the management is looking into finding other options for different days of the week to ensure everyone who needs food gets fed.

He said customers can order any item from the menu for delivery. On Tuesdays, the first 200 orders of spaghetti will be free, limited to four per household.

Jahja said his employees have been holding onto hope things will improve. He said the Friday President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency his business took a huge hit. He said he quickly met with his team to determine a path forward that will continue to serve the community. He said their employees are putting public safety first. He said they change gloves and sanitize everything between each order.

“It is better to be safe than sorry,” said Jahja. “If someone gets sick not only do you feel bad you feel like you failed.”

Jahja said starting next week the plan is to offer a different special every day, depending on what the restaurant determines is best for the community. He said while the customer can order anything from the menu, he isn’t recommending people order steaks or items that won’t hold up well during the delivery time. He said if someone really wants to order a steak they can.

The business started taking deliveries Thursday and already has seen a steady stream of orders.

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