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For 10th Year, Restaurant Owners Say 'You Won't Eat Alone This Christmas'

By Makenzie O'Keefe

NIWOT, Colo. (CBS4) -- A man in Niwot, along with family and friends, are spending Christmas Day making sure everyone has a delicious meal with good company.

It's a long-time tradition that began 10 years ago. Owners Bob Russell and Tony Santelli decided they wanted to give seniors and others who are alone on Christmas, a place to call home.

"You can't explain it," owner Bob Russell said. "It's hard to explain. You see the smiling faces of the people, and they're just happy. It's great."

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The restaurant teams up with Circle of Care, which provides transportation for seniors to events, like this Christmas meal.

"Without them, I would be at home feeling sad and like it isn't Christmas," said Doris Lederman who was eating at the Niwot Tavern. "This is just fabulous because of Circle of Care."

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While the restaurant was packed with grateful people, Bob's family said there is inspiration behind this year's dinner that few know about.

"Dad just had his fourth round of chemo," explained Rob Russell, Bob's son. "We could have canceled it this year, there was talk of that and he wouldn't have it. So everyone stepped up a little bit more."

Bob's wife, kids and grandchildren filled the restaurant greeting guests and serving food.

"Having our family here is probably the most important thing," Bob said. "And the fact that they want to be here gives a level of satisfaction."

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"To see what he's doing while fighting what he's fighting, it's amazing," Russell explained. "It's an inspiration to us all."

It's a dinner that is not only a family and community affair, but one that brightens the day of many people.

"This is one of the best, most interesting Christmases I have ever had," Lederman said. "We're all together!"

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The Niwot Tavern was expecting to feed around 160 to 180 people this year.

Makenzie O'Keefe joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2017. Read her bio, connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter at @makenziepokeefe or email her your story ideas.

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