If you work at Fischer's, you work Thanksgiving Day. Period.
It's the only way the Belleville restaurant can serve its 1,800 or so customers.
"I don't know any different," said Annette Fischer, 50, of Belleville, daughter of owner Ken Fischer. "That was just how it was growing up here. We couldn't complain."
Manager Corea Buck has been pulling Thanksgiving duty for more than 20 years. Her family plans a turkey dinner on another day.
Customer appreciation makes the job easier.
"We have people who say, 'Thank you so much for being here for us,'" said Corea, 58, of Belleville. " We get that even more on Christmas."
Manager Josh Grainger, 24, of Swansea, likes the busy, sometimes hectic pace on Thanksgiving. Time goes by fast.
Josh also tries to keep a positive attitude.
"You know you're going to (work)," he said. "So why be negative?"
Annette buys groceries for the buffet, limited menu and family-style meals that Fischer's serves on Thanksgiving.
That includes about 35 whole turkeys, 20 turkey breasts, 15 hams, eight top rounds for roast beef, 12 cases of chicken, 10 pork loins and 40 pounds of polish sausage.
"Our biggest fear is running out of turkey," Corea said. "We never have, but that's always our fear."
The restaurant also bakes about 200 pies and breaks out its soft-serve ice-cream machine on Thanksgiving.
The feast draws many regulars.
"Generally, everyone is in a good mood," Josh said. "It's a holiday."
One couple drives all the way from Indiana. They started years ago while visiting the woman's mother in a local nursing home.
The mother died, but the couple kept up the Fischer's tradition.
"We call them the 'I Don't Know' couple," Annette said, noting she forgot to write their names on the reservation list one year and the nickname stuck.
The restaurant also serves 30 to 50 people who stop by as part of a train and bus tour.
Over the years, the staff has noticed more families opting to eat out on Thanksgiving to avoid the work and mess.
"They'd rather do it here," Corea said. "The only thing they miss is leftovers."
A few Thanksgiving stories are legendary at Fischer's. One year, a desperate man popped in the kitchen's back door and asked to borrow an onion for his wife. The cooks gladly obliged.
Another year, employees were relaxing after closing time and heard a loud crash from the back. A shelving unit had collapsed, breaking all the restaurant's dinner plates.
"A large part of the profit we made that day was gone," Corea said.
Fischer's is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Breakfast won't be served that day.
Reservations are strongly encouraged.
"Sometimes people come in without reservations, which makes it a little hard on us," Corea said. "But we've never turned anyone down. It's a holiday."