Ramsgate cafe boss opening his doors to provide Christmas dinner for homeless people in need

Rio is gifting Christmas dinner for people in need

Big-hearted Ramsgate café boss Rio Bilgic will be dishing up free Christmas dinners to people who are homeless and in need.

The dad-of-two, who lives in Margate, will be opening the doors of Rio’s café restaurant in Grange Road on Christmas Day for up to 25 people – and says he and his team can also package up meals and deliver if needed.

Rio has headed up the café – formerly Beano’s – for two-and-a-half years but  has been in catering for more than 20 years with venues previously in Ramsgate and Sandwich.

He said: “Two customers asked me if I was going to open Christmas Day for dinner and at first I said no but then more people asked me so I thought ‘why not?’

“I did a menu for £14.0 with turkey, chicken, beef, seven or eight vegetables. People asked why it was cheap and did I use cheap stuff and I said ‘no, it’s not cheap ingredients but it’s Christmas, I can’t charge people more because things are expensive enough’ so I just charge what will cover the costs and staff.

“Then, I thought about some homeless people that come into the café for coffee in the morning and decided I would invite them. I know there are some poor people and I thought I would do something for them for Christmas and just give away the dinners.”

Rio posted about his plan on facebook and says there was a lot of interest including a farm that is gifting a turkey and vegetables and some customers who have donated money for people’s meals.

Rio said: “I thought I would do this and hope they have a lovely day and I have invited around 10 people and said on facebook if people knew someone homeless and in need. Now I have 10 to 15 people coming but I can go to 20 or 25. I also have people who are willing to deliver on Christmas Day, it doesn’t matter for how many, we will cook and box it up.

“I do not mind helping people when they need help.”

Rio, 38,came to the UK from Turkey as a student at Canterbury College. He said: “I love cooking and went straight into working, first in a kebab shop and then in restaurants. I have had shops in Sandwich and Ramsgate and I have my place here now, it’s my little shop and I love it.”

Find Rio’s café restaurant on facebook here

20 Comments

  1. Absolutely fantastic, government don’t lift a finger. Great to see this but it shouldn’t be down to an individual or company to do what the authorities should be.

    • Furlough? Help with fuel bills? Heavily subsidised bus fares? This government have done an unprecedented amount in recent months/years.

        • I agree. They shouldn’t have given furlough to everyone, nor should all people get help with bills. Waste of money, that the country can ill-afford.

          • Swimming-against-the-tide
            DECEMBER 2, 2023 AT 10:57 PM
            Indeed and have eaten there many times as it is top drawer

      • Highest child poverty ever, nearly two million people dependent on food banks, more people on the hospital waiting list ever, longest waiting list for court appearances, The Government trying to explain why so many people died during the pandemic while sending covid positive people into care homes,16 million pound written off for furlough fraud, highest public transport fares in Europe, highest fuel costs in Europe,A prime minister who travels everywhere by private jet or helicopter. And i’ve lost count of how many incompetent prime ministers we’ve had in the last 13 years. Liz Truss!!! How i wish i had rose coloured glasses or believed the Daily Mail!

      • £21bn of public money lost in fraud since COVID pandemic began and most will never be recovered

  2. What a lovely gesture. This is one venue that I will definitely be supporting in the coming year!!
    Well done Rio!

  3. Wenny Pen.
    What a magical Christmas spirit to be inclusive and kind.
    Wishing you a festive day and a fruitful, joyful New Year. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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