Perhaps the most anticipated meal in America, the Thanksgiving spread maintains a firm grip on us year round. Just the thought of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, ham, rolls, green beans, pumpkin pie and other Thanksgiving delights starts our mouths watering.
On the other hand, a Thanksgiving meal takes a lot of preparation. Often you need to start days in advance, everyone finishes eating in 20 minutes — not counting food comas and later snacking — and then the hours of cleanup begin.
Let someone else do the work this year. A number of Valley restaurants open on Thanksgiving so diners can eat their meal of the year without any hassle. We rounded up some of the best you should consider.
Note: Naturally, you’ll want to make reservations or pre-order as soon as possible or you could find yourself out of luck. Rawhide Steakhouse’s popular Thanksgiving Buffet booked up weeks in advance.
Buca di Beppo
It may be an Italian restaurant, but it can serve up a traditional Thanksgiving meal just fine. The Dine In option gives you white meat turkey (sorry, dark meat aficionados) and the fixings, plus a spicy Italian sausage stuffing. Individual meals cost $20, a meal for three costs $60 and $120 gets you a meal for six people.
To Go meals are available for the same prices, and you can pre-order beginning November 20.
Where: Locations in Chandler, Mesa, Peoria and Scottsadale
When: 11 a.m.
We watch the Thanksgiving parade in New York, so why not enjoy a New York Deli-style Thanksgiving meal. Chompie’s began to offer Thanksgiving meals way back in 1979 and continues to this day.
There are two major options customers can choose: an individual meal (under $20) or a family meal ($150-$200). Chompies cooks the meal on Thanksgiving Day and then you take it home for an in-house celebration.
You will definitely want to order in advance as demand skyrockets every year.
Where: Chompie’s locations around the Valley, including Chandler, Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale and Phoenix.
For Thanksgiving, Claim Jumper offers a special menu that includes roasted turkey, ham, tri-tip and various combinations of those dishes, including ‘The Feast” that features all three for $30. You will also find prime rib, salmon and grilled shrimp. Each option include a side and the usual Thanksgiving fixings, plus a dessert.
If you want to stay in, you can order a complete holiday meal to go. Claim Jumper also offers family-size sides if you ran out of time or just want to cook the turkey yourself.
This rustic, Western themed restaurant — seriously, there’s a live steer out front — offers spectacular views to go with your meal. To keep things simple, it offers only a handful of options: Traditional, Baked Ham, New York Steak, Prime Rib, Grilled Salmon and Sauteed Shrimp. Prices range from $20 to $32, but the portions are large and cooked to perfection.
Children 10 and under can get smaller versions of the Traditional meal and Baked Ham meal for $7. There’s also a kids menu with chicken fingers, grilled cheese and a hamburger. Don’t worry; the little ones will be too busy hurtling down the indoor slide to notice what they’re eating.
Did you bring a larger group? You can order a whole turkey plus full meal for a reasonable $160. You even get to carve the turkey yourself!
Where: 8383 S 48th St, Phoenix
When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Show up after 4 p.m. to hear live country music.
The Keg Steakhouse
While it began in Canada, this steakhouse offers an excellent place for a Thanksgiving meal. For $27 you can get a three-course turkey dinner, which includes Caesar salad, turkey, stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, cranberry sauce and a cheesecake with pumpkin drizzle. Other menu items are available, along with childs’ portions.
Fleming’s offers a four-course Thanksgiving meal of traditional favorites — plus non-traditional choices like Lobster Bisque — for $39.95. Kids can get a three-course option for $19.95.
Unlike some other restaurants, Fleming’s full menu will also be available for patrons who don’t want a true Thanksgiving meal. Reservations are open now.
For a three-course Thanksgiving meal with a twist, Roy’s main entree consists of a pan-roasted teriyaki-glazed turkey. Add in options like the Portuguese Sausage stuffing, Haricot Vert and Hazelnuts, and a Maple Brown Sugar Pumpking Tart for dessert and you might not want to go back to your regular Thanksgiving fare.
The meal costs $39.95 per guest, or $69.95 if you want two glasses of wine with dinner. You can get a Children’s Turkey Dinner option for $16.95.
Shula’s Steak House Chandler
For Thanksgiving, Shula’s breaks out a traditional three-course dinner with a few yummy twists. From the sage-roasted turkey to fennel seed sausage, chedder cornbread, and a pumpkin cheesecake that includes Rum Anglaise, you can’t go wrong. The entire meal costs $49.99 per person.
Note: If you want to dine with kids, you should probably look elsewhere.
Where: 5040 West Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
When: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This popular spot for comfort food and home-style cooking does open on Thanksgiving. While it doesn’t appear to offer a meal specifically for the holiday, a slow-roasted turkey with traditional fixings already graces the regular menu.
What you will find special for Thanksgiving, however, are a wide selection of pies, including the seasonal pumpkin varieties. Pies are available to go, so you can cross one more thing off your to-do list.
Where: Locations in Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Meas, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Surprise.
When: 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org