The time has come again to gather family and friends for the grand tradition of Thanksgiving.
For many Americans, that means planning out intricate meals at home, carefully timing out each dish, and pulling out all the stops to serve your roasted turkey with all the fixings on your dining room table.
For some hosts, that feeling of pride can be the best part of the holiday. But for those who find the planning and the cooking to be more stressful than anything else, it’s good to remember that’s not your only option.
That’s right – you don’t have to make your own Thanksgiving dinner. Restaurants across the country offer Thanksgiving meal options. Whether it’s a multi-course dinner or simply picking up a few sides, consider letting one of your favorite local restaurants help you out this Thanksgiving.
Perhaps the most traditional of your restaurant Thanksgiving options is simply dining out. Like for Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s Day, many restaurants offer Thanksgiving service of some kind, usually adapting the traditional Thanksgiving fare mixed in with particularly popular items from their main menu.
For instance, Thanksgiving service in the restaurant industry can mean a prix fixe, buffet, or flexible course menu. For instance, Pacifica Del Mar in San Diego is hosting a three course Thanksgiving meal, with several choices in each course. Yes, butternut squash soup is an option for the first course, but so is Japanese clam chowder. You can pick a traditional turkey breast for the second course, but there’s also grilled swordfish and prime rib with creamy horseradish sauce. There’s a familiar pumpkin pie on deck for dessert, but you also have a salted carmel pot de crème option. This gives your whole family the chance to customize their own feast.
Speaking of feast, Fogo de Chão is also offering a special Brazilian-style Thanksgiving Feast at various locations. Included in the feast are fire-roasted meats carved tableside, roasted turkey breast with au jus, a Brazilian sausage and apple dressing, and their own cranberry relish. If you’re planning to bring a big family, don’t worry – children 6 and under are free, while children between 7 and 12 are half price.
Of course, there’s always the chance that you do enjoy getting your loved ones together for a meal at your home. Still, maybe you don’t want to labor over making every single part of the feast. Maybe you can handle cooking the turkey on its own, but trying to also prep and cook the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and veggies (oh, don’t forget the cranberries!) feels like a stress overload.
Wanting to have Thanksgiving dinner at home doesn’t mean having to cook the full meal – if you have a particular favorite side dish at a local restaurant that you think would fit in perfectly with your holiday dinner, why not see if they offer catered pick-up?
This can be especially helpful if you need offer options for guests with dietary restrictions. For instance, both locations of The Chicago Diner in Chicago, Illinois, take scheduled orders for a la carte vegan dishes, ready for pick-up on Tuesday or Wednesday that week. Their Thanksgiving fare includes tasty mushroom lentil loaf, green beans amandine with roasted pepitas, and seitan Wellingtons with a madeira shallot sauce – all vegan! Scheduling orders to be picked up on Tuesday and Wednesday allows The Chicago Diner to let their staff take the actual holiday off, but still serve their customers looking for a meat-free feast.
Maybe you love making savory dishes, but pies just aren’t your forte. Maybe you’d love to do a whole dessert spread this Thanksgiving, but you just don’t have the time to juggle dessert and the main meal. Remember, there are plenty of bakeries out there that are scheduling Thanksgiving Day orders for exactly these reasons. And ordering out desserts can be great if your guests with dietary restrictions still have a sweet tooth. For instance, GFC Bakery & Café in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers a wide range of gluten-free pies and pastries!
And if you’re already picking up savory elements of your meal from your favorite restaurants, don’t forget to ask what their dessert options are.
But don’t delay.
While you still have some time to get confirm your plans for the holiday, don’t wait too much longer – many of these restaurants cut off orders a few days before Thanksgiving and restaurant reservations fill up fast!