Christmas Eve tradition continues in Bellville as V & M Restaurant serves up free meals

BELLVILLE — A local establishment, long in existence, again paid back customers Christmas week.

V & M Restaurant, on Bellville’s Main Street, provided meals to regular customers, village officials and even first-time patrons on Christmas Eve day.

Shawn Riffe, V & M owner, said food would be provided to “anyone who wants to show up.”

He said the restaurant has been in business for 30 years. His parents took over the restaurant in 1985, and it has been the tradition to provide free meals on Christmas Eve day.

“It’s a thank you from us for another year,” said Riffe.

This effort has sometimes brought 250 people into the restaurants to dine, said Riffe.

The weather affects the turnout, he said. One year the number responding to the offer totaled about 100, he said.

Riffe said there is a “solid customer base.”

There are people he and his wife Bobbie see “day in and day out,” he said.

Customers were served on Christmas Eve day from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The menu is of traditional food: ham, chicken, chicken wings, meatballs, potatoes, salad.

On the day before Christmas Eve day, Riffe was busy preparing cookies to be served on the menu. They were chocolate chip and sugar cookies and tiny pumpkin desserts.

He said his wife keeps records from year to year on who attends. This helps in planning, purchasing and preparation.

A lot of times it is “guessing at it,” he said.

He said people are served “until we run out of food.”

He said one time, after serving customers, supplies were so low they were “serving stuff out of boxes.”

Riffe said it could be expected a number of people would take advantage of the offer, because Christmas this year is early in the week.

And, the weather is supporting efforts of people to be outside.


By Louise Swartzwalder

Galion Inquirer