If a reservation feels like the best thing you could make for Thanksgiving dinner, you’re not alone. According to the National Restaurant Association, about 10% of Americans opt to dine out for the biggest meal of the year.
The top reasons?
Convenience and the chance to enjoy family freed from hours of cooking. But the pleasures of good eating (cooked and served by attentive strangers) are right up there, too.
We looked around for some of the best Thanksgiving Day feasts in restaurants across the USA, whether you’re staying in town or one of the millions who travel for the holiday. These 10 destinations, presented in no particular order, will get you started:
75 Chestnut (Boston)
Deep in New England blueblood country, this converted redbrick townhouse is a cozy local bistro with a much-ballyhooed bar.
And it hasn’t shied away from serving old-school American comfort food faves such as quahog chowder to its regular Beacon Hill clientele on the fourth Thursday of the month – or doing something equally creative with a goose.
The Thanksgiving menu includes harvest pumpkin bisque, oven roasted turkey and a dessert sampler with nibbles of numerous sweets.
75 Chestnut, 75 Chestnut St., Beacon Hill, Boston; +1 617 227 2175
The Skillet (Mountain View, Arkansas)
The most inviting-looking public Thanksgiving event in the heart of Arkansas mountain country will be in full force again this year at Ozark Folk Center State Park.
This a living history facility dedicated to preserving the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Ozarks and the scenic town of Mountain View, aka “The Folk Music Capital of the World.”
The huge Thanksgiving buffet at the park’s restaurant, The Skillet, is a no-nonsense assortment of Southern staples. Typical for past feasts: fried chicken, beef tips, roast turkey, ham with grilled pineapple and a host of veggies and desserts.
The Skillet, 1032 Park Ave., Mountain View, Arkansas; +1 800 264 3655
Georgia Brown’s (Washington, D.C.)
Could Washington, D.C., the embodiment of America’s differences as a nation, possibly provide an amiable setting for a holiday reputed for its dinner-table discord?
Well, a reassuring cast of Washingtonians will be joining hands and giving thanks together at this South Carolina Low Country cuisine institution that’s hosted one of the heartiest Thanksgiving feasts for the past couple of decades just two blocks away from the White House.
Starters include she-crab soup and fried green tomatoes. Then you can choose from various entrees, including seafood favorites, if you want to depart from turkey. And how about some cobbler to finish off the meal?
Georgia Brown’s, 950 15th St., NW Washington; +1 202 393 4499
Akasha (Culver City, California)
If you in the Los Angeles area, it’s OK to feel good about gluttony at this hip Culver City restaurant renaissance leader that specializes in New American comfort food with all the organic, locally sourced fixings you desire.
A sampling of Akasha’s creative and relatively guilt-free Thanksgiving feast includes a roast cauliflower bisque, herb-roasted turkey from a local farm accompanied by chestnut and sage stuffing (and a West Coast sable fish if turkey’s not your thing) and a pie buffet that includes pumpkin, maple pecan and coconut custard among others.
Akasha, 9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City, California; +1 310 845 1700.
Hyeholde Restaurant (Caraopolis, Pennsylvania)
Downriver from Pittsburgh in Caraopolis, the Hyeholde was built as a home and a restaurant in the 1930s from several old barns. Today, you’ll find four acres of gardens and winding stone paths here.
Its traditional Thanksgiving menu includes roast turkey, baked salmon, prime rib, glazed sweet potatoes, root vegetable gratin, plenty of other sides and pumpkin pie along with other desserts.
Hyeholde Restaurant, 1516 Coraopolis Heights Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108; +1 412 264 3116
Cadot Restaurant (Dallas)
This North Dallas restaurant has been serving fine French cuisine since 2009, but chef Jean-Marie Cadot comes from a family that’s been in the food and hospitality industry since the 1700s.
The Thanksgiving menu includes wild mushroom brie soup; roasted turkey breast with cranberries, apples, green beans, sweet potatoes and corn bread stuffing and pumpkin panna cotta. And you’ll have other options if these don’t strike your fancy.
Cadot Restaurant, 18111 Preston Rd #120, Dallas, TX 75252; +1 972 267 5700
Wrigley Mansion (Phoenix)
The former winter residence of chewing-gum goliath William Wrigley is now an event space, ghost house and Thanksgiving Day staple, with 360-degree mountainside vistas over greater Phoenix.
Thanksgiving brunch is served buffet-style, offering breakfast items as well as traditional Thanksgiving fare.
In previous years, the buffet has featured turkey, prime rib and leg of lamb, but also omelets, salads and a cold seafood assortment.
Wrigley Mansion, 2501 E. Telawa Trail, Camelback East, Phoenix. +1 602 955 4079
Magnolias (Charleston, South Carolina)
Magnolias helped lead Charleston’s charge onto the international culinary map in the 1990s, and this seafood-focused restaurant promises to deliver tasty offerings for Thanksgiving.
A few of the special items on the menu in this Southern port city: A Down South egg roll (with collard greens, chicken, tasso ham, red pepper purée, spicy mustard and peach chutney); Brussels sprouts salad; slow-roasted turkey; pecan-crusted salmon; Low Country succotash (butter beans, hominy, bell peppers and sweet corn). The dessert special: bourbon buttermilk pumpkin pie.
Magnolias, 185 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401; +1 843 321 9333
Pelican Club (New Orleans)
The Pelican Club provides a pleasing mix of Louisiana classics with some New York panache. Set in a 19th century townhouse, rustic stone walls and cypress panels provide a perfect Thanksgiving atmosphere.
A sampling of the menu to whet your appetite: Turtle and alligator soup with aged sherry, slow-roasted turkey roulade, paneed Gulf fish with blue crab and bourbon pecan pie.
Pelican Club, 312 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130; +1 504 523 1504
Napa Valley Wine Train (Napa, California)
Sometimes a moveable feast is in order. You can take in Napa Valley’s gorgeous fall scenery while enjoying a Thanksgiving spread on rails.
The Napa Valley Wine Train has a special all-day trip planned, and your options on the menu include a honey roasted acorn squash bisque, roast turkey with chorizo savory herb stuffing and a chocolate tartelette with strawberry ricotta mousse and berry compote.
Napa Valley Wine Train, 1275 Mckinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559; +1 707 253 2111
CNN’s Forrest Brown contributed new material for the 2018 update of this story.