A beloved Tulsa diner business that’s been known for giving out free thanksgiving dinner and meals to those in need year round is now the one in need as staff try to keep it afloat.
Tally’s Good Food Cafe is a 50s style diner dedicated to serving classic American dishes from burgers, onion rings, and fried catfish, to breakfast favorites all day like giant pancakes, egg Benedict, crispy bacon, and their award winning cinnamon rolls.
Usually Tally's locations on 1102 S Yale Ave. and 6100 S Sheridan Rd #4051 are buzzing with customers, but COVID-19 safety restrictions has shut the dine-in option down, which has been devastating for the business.
However, owner Tally Alame is determined to keep their doors open despite setbacks from the pandemic.
“I’m going to stay in business. I’m not shutting it down. I’m going to stay in it as long as I’m alive," Alame said. "This is what I love to do. There’s nothing else you can’t take that away from me."
Alame opened the first Tally's location in 1987. He says it was a life long goal.
“It was my dream all my life I wanted to have my own business," Alame said. I”m originally from Lebanon. I came her in 1979. I went to OSU, got my business degree in management and marketing, and it was always my dream to open my business."
Alame had such gratitude for the city of Tulsa being so welcoming and being a place he could reach his dreams after being sent to America to avoid Civil War in Lebanon in 1979. Because of this, he soon became passionate about giving back to the community.
“I love doing it. I love helping people. If someone is struggling, I step in and help," Alame said.
Over the years, Tally's has become known for it's annual free Thanksgiving meal. But Alame says anytime is a good time to give.
“It doesn’t have to be a holiday when some one walks in and says I’m hungry, I feed them," Alame said.
Now, Alame is finding himself in a tough spot due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Right now, I’m just running with one cook in the morning and one waitress in the evening and its the same at the other location because there just isn't enough money coming in," Alame said. “I’m running at 20 percent and you still have your bills you have to pay."
Despite Tally's locations making the bare minimum to keep doors open, Alame says they will continue to have curbside to-go and delivery through Doordash available.
“I love Tulsa. I love Tulsa people," Alame said. "I just don’t think I can get away from it. I love it."
To see the menu and phone numbers for both locations click here.
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