Restaurants on Thanksgiving:yea or nay?

We went to 13 Coins last Thanksgiving. The meal was wonderful. We had leftovers for sandwiches the next day, as well as extra pumpkin pie for a late snack.

This year we’ll be at hubby’s parents. They buy the premade dinner from the grocery store and their caregiver puts it together. Not quite as good, but we’ll get to listen to the TV at full volume and enjoy the house temps in the upper 80s. Not to mention the 3 hour drive each way.

My husband and I were entertaining visitors or something one Thanksgiving and were driving around San Francisco looking for a place to eat. We ended up at some hole in the wall place who did offer a full Thanksgiving menu, but for some reason I was in the mood for a Pastrami sandwich, so I had that.

Then funnest Thanksgiving I’ve had is when me, my husband, my brother and my parents all decided on a whim to meet up [we live on opposite coasts] in Las Vegas. We were staying at the Wynn (which for some reason was having an incredible deal on room and airfare - I’m talking insane! We never would’ve been able to stay there otherwise.) We researched online what dinner options were available on Thanksgiving and ended up at the Wynn’s sister hotel (the Encore) at a moderately swanky place with the full fixins, and of course Punkin’ Pie for dessert…but everyone was too stuffed to partake.

After that we went to Fremont street and got drunk off our butts while watching the sky show. A very, very unique Thanksgiving.

The spouse and I usually go to a restaurant the offers a Thanksgiving menu. That’s because it’s just the two of us, so cooking the full dinner at home would be ridiculous. Also, I cook almost every damn day, a holiday is an excuse to let someone else do the cooking.

Usually my husband and I go out. The restaurant we usually go to isn’t really high end, it’s higher than middle, though. Since there’s just the two of us, it doesn’t make much sense for me to make half a dozen dishes, and then throw two thirds of the food away when it goes off.

Our daughter comes home for Xmas, so we DO roast a turkey breast and have other holiday foods around. Even so, we have to rely on the cats to help us eat up that turkey. Not that the cats MIND doing this, of course.

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We go to a state park which has a buffet. So it’s mostly a traditional Thanskgiving Dinner, just not cooked by us, but one can have ham and roast beef and even fish, none of which I expect to have on Thanksgiving.

We usually hike for a while beforehand. In good weather, it’s fun. The year it dripped cold rain the whole time was not so much fun.

So it’s somewhere between fancy and regular fare, for a price which is neither outrageous nor cheap, and if we time it right, not a ridiculous wait, either.

We’ll probably do the turkey and all the fixin’s at Christmas, when we expect more (read some) visitors.

I’d feel good about it–if it’s an ordinary day for the other customers and staff, that means the people there aren’t working on what they consider a major family holiday. If you can go out without blowing someone else’s holiday to smithereens, that’s a win all the way around.

The only time I’ve ever been in a restaurant on Thanksgiving was the year I was waiting tables at Cracker Barrel. Even the years I’ve been alone, I’ve never really seen the point in going out. Ordinary places are out because their mass-cooked food would be much worse than what I make at home on a normal day, and fancier places are right the hell out because Thanksgiving is not a day for fancy.

We’re going out for Thanksgiving. My wife and I don’t really like traditional Thanksgiving fare. My folks were visiting last year and we made a Turkey and some other traditional type food, and we struggled to finish up the leftovers and wound up throwing half of it out. This year, we are going out for lunch, preferably somewhere that serves something other than turkey. Alternatively, I may buy some steaks and grill them up on Thanksgiving.

My family (me, wife, two kids) goes out to a huge buffet at a nice restaurant every Thanksgiving. One Thanksgiving, 20 years ago, it just so boring making a huge meal for two adults and two kids then just sitting around waiting all day that we just went out. It was so fun we kept doing it every year. After the meal we wander around Washington DC, visit a museum or take in movie.

My mom was horrfied that we would go to a restaurant but she came around when we took her with us one year. Great food, a fun walk in a museum afterward then home to zero dirty dishes. What’s not to love?

One of these years I’m going to get myself to Plimoth Plantation for Thanksgiving. That is, if I feel like spending $100 for dinner.

Let us repair to the Cafe Society for this discussion of fine dining. From IMHO.

We’re doing a buffet at a local golf course this year. We’ve done it there before and it’s been nice; good spread, good food and a nice place. Last year, they gave me a drumstick :smiley:

I like both ways but the advantages here are that we eat early, don’t have any clean-up and it’s not significantly pricier than buying a large traditional spread. Plus no lengthy cook times or being told to arrive at 1:00, just to learn the turkey didn’t hit the oven until 12:45. My sister and mother can camp the Black Friday sales and the non-insane among us can just enjoy the day.

I think it helps that we all live locally to one another so it’s not as though I only see my family twice a year and would feel “cheated”. Plus I’ll still get a turkey for my own edification to cook at my leisure.

We went out one year. It was pricey and loud. I could not talk to everyone at the ends of the table and I will never do that again.

When my second husband and I were dating, neither of us had our kids for the holiday, and family was too far away for our work schedules, so we decided to go out. First, we went to a high end hotel that advertised a very good meal. After waiting 10 minutes (no line, clean empty tables all over) to be seated, and another 15 without even an acknowledgement from any of the half-dozen waiters standing around the service area, I said “screw it, I’d rather eat a burger.” Instead, we wound up at a cute little European style restaurant, where we didn’t even have reservations, and ate escargot and cassoulet and drank good wine and thenthe walked around downtown enjoying the Christmas lights before talking ourselves into returning for dessert, because who can resist creme brulee? It’s the only time I’ve ever gone out for Thanksgiving dinner, but it was awesome.

Restaurant. It’s traditional.

Our menu

Here’s about 1/20th of the total buffet selection:

Assorted Garde Manger Platters and Canapés

Goat Cheese and Roasted Vegetable Terrine
Duck and Pistachio Terrine
Sun-dried Tomato and Asiago Tartlets
Prosciutto Wrapped Figs
Mushroom and Tomato Confit
White Bean and Sausage on Garlic Crostini

My wife and I went to a restaurant in some hotel in Atlanta over a decade ago and it was absolutely delicious. One of the best restaurant meals we’ve had.

I sense a certain… lack of enthusiasm… in your post. :wink:

On years that my brother’s family goes to visit his in-laws, my parents find a restaurant that serves a Thanksgiving buffet, and we go there. Some of the food isn’t as good as homemade, but there’s tons of variety, so you can usually find something delicious.

On years that my brother’s in-laws come visit them, we often go to the buffet at his country club, which has good food, and also has carolers and carriage rides and a game room for the kids. Their desserts are distressingly scanty on good chocolate stuff without nuts, though.

The only real problem is that I end up being the guest all the time, so I have to remember to do something back in return for the meal.