published Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Where to eat in Chattanooga on Thanksgiving Day

We have much to be thankful for, especially those restaurants that will be open and serving delicious buffets on Thanksgiving Day.

While many of you will be dining at home, there are still many families who choose to eat out on Thanksgiving, letting someone else do the cooking. Just be sure to make reservations early, because these restaurants fill up quickly.

• Bluff View Art District -- 411 E. Second St. Back Inn Cafe and Renaissance Commons will be filled with Thanksgiving flavors, serving small groups and large family gatherings. The menu will feature roast turkey and other traditional fare, as well as a few different dishes, such as Asian salad with chicken and soba noodles; Caesar salad; hazelnut French toast; assorted seafood and vegetable sushi; and shrimp with bowtie pasta in a tomato-spinach cream sauce. And, of course, a nice selection of made-from-scratch desserts. Cost: $26.95 adults, $14.95 children 12 and younger. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations: 265-5033, ext. 4.

• Broad Street Grille at The Chattanoogan -- 1201 Broad St. There will be a full spread, starting with a tremendous salad bar filled with fruits, veggies and traditional salads; peel-and-eat shrimp; Cajun-smoked catfish; house-cured pastrami salmon; buttermilk fried turkey breast; Lynchburg Lemonade-brined ham; house-smoked beef brisket; country ham with mushroom stuffing ... and just about any Thanksgiving dishes you can imagine, including a full range of desserts, such as pecan sticky bun bread pudding. Cost: $34.95 adults, $17.95 children 6-12. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Reservations: 424-3700.

• Chattanooga Choo Choo -- 1400 Market St. Take a step back in time beneath the Grand Dome, and fill your plates with a host of Thanksgiving dishes that range from roast turkey and sugar-cured ham to Lynchburg chicken; a carving station with slow-roasted steamship round of beef; a pasta station with numerous selections including seafood; a full range of appetizers; antipasto; and untold numbers of side dishes, not to mention more than a dozen desserts. Cost: $27.95 adults, $23.95 seniors (65 and up) and $13.95 children 12 and younger. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations: 308-2481.

If you'd rather eat at home but still have someone else do the cooking, Mount Vernon (3535 Broad St.), The Big Table (118 Cross St., off Signal Mountain Road) and Home Folks in Soddy-Daisy (8981 Dayton Pike) are offering complete Thanksgiving meals ready for you to heat up and serve. You can order the simplest of things, such as a pan of made-from-scratch stuffing, to the whole meal with side dishes, desserts and rolls. Just be sure to place your orders early. The deadline at Mount Vernon is Monday. Call 266-6591, or order online at www.mymtvernon.com. You'll need to get your order into The Big Table no later than Saturday by calling 634-0772. And Home Folks orders need to be ordered no later than Sunday by calling 332-5724.

From Spice Islands spice company comes this delicious change of pace for your Thanksgiving dessert. With the popularity of cupcakes not seeming to wane, I'm sure you'll love these.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

4 eggs, slightly beaten

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon (preferably ground Saigon cinnamon)

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon salt

Orange cream cheese frosting:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons Spice Islands orange peel

4 cups powdered sugar

To make cupcakes: Heat oven to 350 F. Blend the eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl; set aside. Stir together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and beat until well blended. Pour into lined muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Cool 30 minutes. Spread with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.

To make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients, and beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cupcakes.

Email Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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