Eat Out, Ye Pilgrims
Where to dine out (or order in) if you don't want to cook for Thanksgiving
If you aren't all that fond of cooking six-hour turkeys, entertaining a house full of guests and overindulging on plates of homemade goodies, then Thanksgiving might be a rather stressful holiday for you to endure. Don't feel like a Thanksgiving Grinch if you aren't up for cooking on Turkey Day.
According to the National Restaurant Association, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest dining out days in the nation, with some 14 million Americans eating out on the annual holiday. If you're planning to venture out on Thanksgiving Day, there are a number of Austin restaurants that will welcome reservations and walk-ins. Here are a few of the best options for eating out in Austin on Thanksgiving.
The 24-hour hot spot will be featuring a special Thanksgiving dinner, in addition to the restaurant's main menu. The Thanksgiving feast features items like brined-and-roasted turkey breast, turkey leg confit, house-cured ham, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, bacon-braised collard greens, pumpkin pie and more.
"When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was always the favorite holiday of the year for me and my family. It always fell near or on my mother's birthday, so it was important for all of us to get together to eat and celebrate my mom's fantastic cooking," says chef Andrew Curren of the feast. "The menu at 24 Diner will feature a handful of the traditional classics we enjoyed."
In addition to the 24 Diner feast, Austin's favorite new beer garden and bakery will also be baking up batches of soft, buttery Parker House rolls for the holiday. Dinner rolls will be available for purchase from Nov. 19 - 22 for $6 a dozen.
"Even though they fall outside the style of most of the Easy Tiger artisan bread line, I wanted to offer a classic American dinner roll to grace Austin's tables," says David Norman, baker of Easy Tiger. "People who were lucky enough to grow up with these homemade rolls for holiday meals will be delighted to serve these." Both Easy Tiger and 24 Diner will be open normal business hours during the holidays.
In addition to a Thanksgiving Day menu, TRACE will also be featuring "turkey in a box." This take-home poultry box includes a smoked paprika herb-rubbed bird and optional items like cornbread, bacon, and apple stuffing, brown butter Brussels sprouts, apple cheddar pie and numerous other fixings.
"For this year's Thanksgiving menus, I tried to stay true to the feeling of the celebration — providing my take on classic dishes and letting my Southern upbringing and cooking influence shine on the local and seasonal Thanksgiving fare," says Ben Hightower, TRACE's chef de cuisine.
Bar Mirabeau will be offering a three-course Thanksgiving Day menu, with options like deep-fried turkey galantine, yukon gold potato puree, pumpkin pie with crème chantilly and numerous other enticing options. "We decided to offer this from scratch Thanksgiving menu as an homage to our favorite comfort food dishes we ate growing up during the holidays," says owner/chef Parind Vora.
"Some are traditional recipes like smashed sweet potatoes with house-made marshmallows; other dishes take a more sophisticated contemporary spin, like the smoked lobster with hatch chili hollandaise and lobster bisque. Either way, we want everyone to feel welcome and at home here."
Noble Pig won't be open on Thanksgiving, but the restaurant is planning a pre-Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 20 that will feature unconventional dishes like foie gras stuffed turkey wings; fried green salad with pickled pumpkin; maple-glazed corned pork belly and pecans; wild mushroom pie with watercress, green bean mousseline, and pine nut brittle; and chicken gingersnaps with foie caramel delights and cranberry.
"The inspiration for the pre-Thanksgiving dinner comes from my love of holiday food traditions, but [also] as a chef wanting to do something different and fun with the food. I want a holiday feast that challenges preconceived notions and expectations," John Bates, owner and chef of Noble Pig, says of the Thanksgiving-inspired feast.
The Driskill is offering three dining options for the Thanksgiving holiday: reservations at the Driskill Grill for a multi-course dinner, a three-course menu at 1886 Café & Bakery, or a Thanksgiving family feast hosted in the Driskill Mezzanine. The famed antique hotel is also offering Thanksgiving food for pick-up. Some of the items featured on the various menus include smoked butternut squash soup with spiced crème fraîche and pumpkin seed oil, prime rib and maple-cured pork loin with pecan bourbon sauce.
(Second Bar + Kitchen and Congress are open on Thanksgiving, but the restaurants haven't finalized their Thanksgiving menus quite yet.)
MAX's will also be accepting to-go orders on Thanksgiving foods, including truffled MAX and cheese, green chili sweet corn, mashed sweet potatoes with smoked pecans, apple-bacon stuffing, apple pie bread pudding, pumpkin tapioca pudding and a myriad of other offerings. Thanksgiving to-go orders must be placed by Nov. 18 and picked up by Nov. 21.
For those of you who want to grab and go, Sullivan's is offering to-go side dishes for individuals who want to pre-order. Customers can choose from items like bourbon sweet potatoes with pecan and oatmeal crumble, three-cheese mac, Brussels sprouts, horseradish mashed potatoes, and other Thanksgiving sides.