The ads start popping up in early October. “Make us your Thanksgiving destination!” “Open on Thanksgiving!” “Join us for Thanksgiving dinner!” Restaurants want to make sure you know that they have all sorts of ways to cater, or host, your holiday meal when you can’t or don’t want to cook.
Sitting down at a dining room table piled high with homemade food just isn’t in the cards for everyone. And if you’ve never entertained the idea of going out for Thanksgiving before, you have to admit it sounds tempting: no prepping the house for guests. None of the “should-we-take-our-shoes-off” song and dance. No checking to see if the gravy boat needs refilling. Just comfy booths, warm lighting, and plenty of available parking. What’s not to love?
But once you’ve chosen to head to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, new questions spring up:
- Do you go to an old standby establishment, or use the holiday as an excuse to try somewhere new?
- Is it important to your group to find a restaurant that follows Thanksgiving dinner to the letter, serving the classic turkey feast? Or do you ditch tradition entirely for pizza and burgers?
- What time will dinner start? Will you meet up around, you know, dinnertime, or choose the more holiday-optimized 2 p.m time slot?
- A la carte, or all-you-can-eat buffet?
There are many factors involved, the biggest of which is probably making sure that everyone in your group agrees to the terms long before making a reservation. If any of you have a Thanksgiving Day restaurant-going game plan, we want to know about it so we can start planning for next year.