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No Name Grill jam-packed for annual Thanksgiving Eve turkey bowling competition and fund-raiser

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By Deborah Swearingen

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving at the grill with No Name

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And many from South Jeffco gathered to play a game …

For at least 10 years, every Thanksgiving Eve, the No Name Grill in South Jeffco transforms into a one-lane bowling alley complete with pins and a frozen turkey. No Name regulars and newbies come out in droves to toss the turkey for a good cause in the annual turkey bowling competition and fund-raiser. The business kept it local last year and donated to the Children’s Hospital of Colorado. But this year, 90 percent of the money raised went to the American Red Cross and UNICEF to help with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.

There was not an open seat in sight at No Name last Wednesday as people in turkey T-shirts and hats packed the bar and restaurant.

One such person was Steve Mueller of Littleton, who sported a full bird costume. The business was crowded, but Mueller found room to warm up. Before lobbing the turkey down the bowling lane, Mueller was doing jumping jacks in line.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Mueller said, adding that he won the competition several years ago.

“What else are you going to do the day before Thanksgiving?” he asked.

Loud bangs reverberated through the No Name Grill each time the frozen turkey slammed into the kegs surrounding the bowling pins, and there were smiles, loud cheers and high-fives aplenty as bowlers knocked down strike after strike.

“It’s now more like a tradition for our customers even more so than for us,” said co-owner Monica Battista.

Battista opened the No Name Grill in 1998 with co-owners Steven Gramman and Gene O’Hagan in an effort to provide an affordable, down-to-earth option for locals. The restaurant opens daily, serves breakfast on the weekends and stays open late.

While the holiday season can be tough for some, Battista hopes to help with that by hosting a fun community activity.

“Truly, it’s just silly fun. Silly, stupid fun,” she said.

Plus, the turkey bowling competition provides an easy opportunity to give back. Battista noted the No Name Grill attracts a middle-class crowd, many of whom don’t have a lot of disposable income. But on Thanksgiving Eve, it’s a different story.

“We’re all blessed to be here,” Battista said. “There’s people in Puerto Rico right now who still have no electricity, no running water, no roof literally over their head.”

“If we get to do this, then we get to give up 5 bucks or 20 bucks or 100 bucks — whatever you can,” she added.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.