Thanksgiving dinner has changed in recent years, with more people forgoing the family meal at home, opting instead to gather the family at a local restaurant and let someone else do the cooking.
"I do believe that more people are going out for Thanksgiving," says Tanner Marino, executive chef at The Chattanoogan. "It gives the moms and dads of America a chance to treat their families to a nice holiday meal without all of the fuss of cooking and cleaning. I feel people genuinely plan ahead and look forward to these events. It's a good opportunity for them to get dressed up and take the family out."
Last Thanksgiving, more than 1,000 meals were served, and The Chattanoogan expects the same or more this year.
"It most certainly takes a team to service a function of this size," Marino says. "We have the heads of all departments and plenty of line-level staff on that day to ensure that each guest receives proper care and attention and that the food is being replenished frequently and that items are not running low."
Here's a look at what some of Chattanooga's busiest restaurants will have on the menu for Thanksgiving. Be sure to call ahead for reservations well in advance, as the best times fill up quickly.
» Bluff View Art District: The culinary arts come alive for the Bluff View Art District's annual Thanksgiving brunch. This year's buffet includes many of the traditional offerings, from turkey and dressing, prime rib and sour-cream mashed potatoes to green bean casserole. You'll find the unexpected, too, such as Asian salad with chicken and udon noodles, shrimp with bowtie pasta, challah French toast and assorted quiches. A wide assortment of breads, pastries and house-made desserts also will be served. Price: $34.95 (adults), $17.94 (children 12 and younger). Prices do not include tax, gratuity or alcohol. A full bar is available, but soft drinks, tea, coffee and orange juice are included. Reservations: 423-265-5033, ext. 4. Hours: 11 a.m-4 p.m.
» The Chattanoogan, 1201 Broad St. From a traditional meal to one that offers something different from turkey and dressing, The Chattanoogan has it all. The buffet spreads across the ballroom to include numerous salads and other cold items from greens to cheeses, veggies and dips. Entrees and sides include turkey, ham, dressing and green bean casserole, but there will also be a shrimp-and-grits bar, braised beef short ribs, butternut squash ravioli and an irresistible array of desserts, such as caramel apple cheesecake, white chocolate pumpkin pie, mini s'mores pies and pumpkin rolls with brown-butter cream cheese frosting. Thanksgiving dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The meal is complimentary for children 4 younger. The cost for children ages 5-12 is $20 and adults are $45 per person (price includes mimosas for those 21 or over, tax and gratuity). Reservations: 423-424-3700.
» Ruth's Chris, 2321 Lifestyle Way. On Thanksgiving Day, Ruth's Chris becomes known for more than its amazing steaks. Of course, you can order steaks, but the menu will also feature roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry relish, a salad or soup choice, a side dish choice and dessert — all for one price — $39.95 (adults) and $12.95 (children). Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Reservations: 423-602-5900.
» Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant, 2 W. Aquarium Way. The Southern decor in this popular downtown eatery is the perfect setting for a down-home Thanksgiving featuring smoked turkey and ham, fried chicken and pulled pork, along with sides such as corn pudding, mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, Tennessee Caviar Black-Eyed Pea Salad and mashed potatoes. For dessert? Pumpkin and pecan pies, along with peach cobbler. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: $27.99 adults, $13.99 for kids 12 and younger. Reservations: 423-708-8505.
» Terminal Brewhouse, 1464 Market St. While the popular brew house will not be serving a special Thanksgiving menu, it will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. So if you want to celebrate Turkey Day with a burger, pizza or other tavern fare alongside a good craft beer, here's the place to find them. Phone: 423-752-8090.
» Five, at One North Shore, 200 Manufacturers Road. This popular North Shore restaurant continues its tradition of offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal at no charge to anyone, but donations to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen will be accepted and appreciated. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost: None. Reservations: Not accepted, but Five does ask that if you are bringing a large crowd of eight of more, let them know. Call 423-777-4120.
» FoodWorks, 205 Manufacturers Road, will open its doors Thanksgiving morning for a tremendous feast of soups and salads, breads, roasted turkey and other meats, mouthwatering sides and a treasure of homemade desserts. FoodWorks' Thanksgiving buffet will be served 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. at a cost of $32 per adult and $15 for children under 12. Reservations: 423-752-7487.
» Beast + Barrel Gastro Smokehouse, 16 Frazier Ave. Thanksgiving will feature a bountiful buffet of assorted cheeses, sausages, deviled eggs and dips; soups; salads; a carving station with turkey and other roasted meats; and a full spread of homemade desserts. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Cost: $39.95 adults; free for kids 10 and younger. Reservations: 423-805-4599.
» Herman's Soul Food, 3821 Brainerd Road, will open on Turkey Day offering a special meat-and-three menu with lots of choices ranging in price from $12.99 to $15.99. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For reservations, call 423-624-5715.
THANKSGIVING TO GO
If you plan to dine at home this Thanksgiving but need a little help with the cooking, here are some restaurants that are willing to help:
» Orders from Bluff View's "Dinner Is Done" menu will be taken Nov. 17-25. Order the entire meal or just pieces of it. A 3-pound turkey breast that serves eight is $35, and sour cream mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing, serving 12 to 15, are $20 each. Breads and desserts are also available. For a complete list or to order, call 423-265-5033, ext. 4.
» Ordering select signature "Sides To Go," from Ruth's Chris makes preparing a mouthwatering home-style Thanksgiving dinner simple. The restaurant is offering its popular creamed spinach, velvety roasted garlic mashed potatoes and the classic sweet potato casserole topped with a crunchy pecan-brown sugar crust. Each side dish is $29.95 and serves 10-12. Sides must be placed no later than Nov. 20 and need to be picked up by Nov. 22. Orders can be placed online at www.ruthschris.net/sidestogo, or by calling the restaurant directly, 423-602-5900, at least 48 hours in advance of your desired pickup time.
» Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant will accept to-go holiday catering orders through Nov. 19. In addition to all the traditional turkey and side dish offerings, the take-out menu also features smoked or fried turkey, smoked spiral ham, cherry-wood-smoked pulled pork, slow-smoked beef brisket and smoked baby back ribs. Desserts include chocolate chess or pumpkin pie and several seasonal cobblers. The full menu is online at www.puckettsgro.com/holiday and orders can be placed by phone at 423-708-8505 or in person.
» The Acropolis Grill, 2213 Hamilton Place Blvd. Turkeys, ranging from 14 pounds with dressing and gravy ($80) to a huge 20 pounds with dressing and gravy — enough to feed 18-20 people ($110) will be available for pickup through Nov. 22. Spiral ham (6 pounds, $50); assorted sides ($18-$25); and a bevy of dessert choices round out the take-home menu. To order, call 423-899-5341.
» Main Street Meats, 217 E. Main St. Order your turkey brined and ready to take home and roast yourself, or let the the experts smoke it for you. Prices range from $4.99 to $13 depending on size, type of turkey ordered and whether you want it smoked or raw. Side dishes, serving up to 10 and ranging in price from $45 to $50, also may be ordered. This year's menu features broccolini with roasted garlic and parmesan; candied yams with bacon; smothered green beans; and bacon-cornbread dressing with country sausage gravy. The deadline for ordering smoked turkeys is Nov. 18; raw brined turkeys will be sold through Thanksgiving Eve based on availability. The deadline for ordering sides is Nov. 18. Call 423-602-9568.
' Herman's Soul Food, 3821 Brainerd Road. Herman's will be offering turkey and ham with all the sides, including mac and cheese, broccoli casserole, turnip greens and dressing, but it will also be offering a "meal deal." Order a half pan of Herman's famous turkey and dressing with your choice of two sides, gravy, rolls and cranberry sauce for $189 (feeds 15-20) or a full pan for $289 (feeds 40-50). And don't forget dessert, such as a sweet potato pie ($15) or a red velvet cake ($48). The deadline for ordering in Nov. 19. For orders, call 423-624-5715.
» Mount Vernon Restaurant, 3535 Broad St., has been a favorite go-to solution for decades for those needing a little help with Thanksgiving Day's doings. Order brined and roasted whole 12- to 14-pound turkeys with giblet gravy and 4 pounds of made-from-scratch dressing ($79.95, enough for 10-12 people), or just the turkey ($55.95) or sides alone ($10-$22.95). Also, 5-pound bourbon-gingersnap crusted hams to feed 12-15 people are $49.95. And don't forget to add sides ($12-$22.95) and an amaretto cream pie to your order — or apple, pecan, chocolate, blueberry-cheese or pumpkin pie ($20-$28). Deadline for ordering is Nov. 20. Call 423-266-6591 or go online to www.mymtvernon.com.
Contact Anne Braly at email@example.com.