Golden Corral, Cracker Barrel, Maggiano's and more trot out Turkey Day specials

Taste Tracker: Restaurants bring it on for Thanksgiving, offering family meals and large feasts for carrying out or dining in.
Restaurants are busy cooking up Thanksgiving meals so consumers don't have to. | Photos courtesy of the brands.

This Thanksgiving, 23% of consumers would be likely to purchase a full, ready-made meal for pickup from a restaurant, according to Technomic, and 22% will rely on a restaurant to prepare some of the trimmings for the holiday feast.

Restaurants are ready, with an array of Thanksgiving meal packages for small and large gatherings. Customers can also order up favorite sides and desserts to expand the spread.

Family dining chains have traditionally been popular for value-priced Thanksgiving takeout meals and this year is no exception. Golden Corral is offering Holiday Feasts To Go, starring roasted turkey, glazed ham or beef roast as the main course, with a choice of trimmings such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and yeast rolls and pies. All the sides can be ordered a la carte as well, and guests who prefer to dine in can dig into the endless Holiday Buffet at the restaurants.

Cracker Barrel is cooking up a Heat ‘n Serve Turkey Feast that serves eight to 10 and includes roast turkey breast, cornbread dressing, gravy, cranberry relish and more, with pumpkin and pecan pie for dessert. Smaller groups can score a family dinner for four to six and everyone is invited to come to the restaurants for a sit-down meal. Over at Denny’s, the Turkey & Dressing Dinner Bundle is back this year, featuring the roasted bird along with bread stuffing, gravy and change-of-pace sides like mac-and-cheese and herb-glazed corn. Pies to-go include pumpkin and pecan.

Southern chain Cotton Patch Café has a lineup of heat-and-serve meals under the banner “Thanksgiving Homestyle for the Holidays.” The largest is the Ultimate Holiday Spread serving up to 12; it includes choice of roast turkey breast or ham, cornbread dressing, homemade gravy, three sides (such as garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli rice casserole and baked squash), a dozen rolls and a pie or peach cobbler. Guests can also order smaller spreads and a la carte trimmings.  

Also going in a Southern-style direction for the holiday is Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. On the menu are smoked turkey and ham, garlic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, corn pudding and house-baked biscuits with apple butter. And smoking is naturally the chosen turkey cooking technique at Smokey Mo’s BBQ. A whole smoked turkey is on offer with cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.

Maggiano’s gives the holiday an Italian spin, with the option of Branzino Fresca Style in addition to turkey and ham. Sides include rigatoni and four-cheese ravioli along with the more mainstream Sage and Sausage Stuffing, and for dessert, there’s Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake. Dine-in customers can treat themselves to a family-style three-course menu on Thanksgiving.

For cooks and family members who need a break before or after Turkey Day, Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub is holding a special “Reunion Night” at the bar on Thanksgiving eve. Full-sized appetizers are available for $6.99 and six-packs of Bone-In Wings for $4.99, along with themed drink specials. Cocktails include Life of the Party, a Mango Mai Tai; Biggest Flirt, a Sangarita Margarita; Best Dressed, an Espresso Martini; and Most Indulgent, a Salted Caramel Martini. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the chain is offering deals on bonus cards that can be redeemed for food and drink.

And California-based casual-dining chain Eureka! Is celebrating “Drinksgiving” on Wednesday, Nov. 22, so guests can enjoy $5.50 rotating handles and local craft beers before gorging on turkey. In the Woodland Hills location, late-night Hoppy Hour will keep going well after the last leftover has been eaten.

Get a preview of these menus in action right here. 


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