Why Not Dine Out for Thanksgiving?

. . . or have your meal catered

Sick of defrosting the Thanksgiving turkey for an entire week? Tired of the endless cleanup afterward? Then why not start your holiday season off by dining out on Thanksgiving? Think of it: no prep work, no cooking, no cleanup, just a pleasant meal where someone else does all the work.

According to a 2017 survey by the National Restaurant Association, one in 10 adults plans to eat his or her Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. And a smaller number plan to buy prepared food to supplement their home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

If you opt to dine out on turkey day, a number of Delaware’s top restaurants are happy to accommodate your party, no matter if it’s two or 15.

Here are some tips and restaurant recommendations for a successful Thanksgiving outing:

Reserve Your Table (now)

Many places strongly recommend reservations, so don’t delay, especially if you have a large group, and if you’re going to a popular destination like Deerfield Golf Club in Newark. Deerfield is famous for its holiday buffet, and Thanksgiving is no exception.

The club describes its Thanksgiving meal as “brunch-like” since there are so many options for diners to enjoy.

“In addition to the traditional hand-carved turkey, we offer other carved options like Kobe New York strip steak and New Zealand rack of lamb, as well as roasted salmon and Deerfield’s famous crab cakes,” says Brianna Boyens, sales coordinator at Forewinds Hospitality Group, which manages Deerfield. ?

And while the menu changes slightly each year, you’re still able to enjoy the Thanksgiving staples like bread stuffing, mashed yams with cinnamon and brown sugar, and garlic mashed potatoes, “which get rave reviews year-round,” says Boyens.

Buffet or `a la Carte?

The most difficult decision you’ll make when choosing a Thanksgiving meal is whether your party wants to graze or to be served. Luckily, Harry’s Savoy Grill on Naamans Road offers both options, but your party will have to make the decision before you walk through the door.

“We serve the à la carte menu in the restaurant and the buffet menu in the ballroom, so you’ll have to choose before you are seated,” says Meg Morgan, office manager at Harry’s Hospitality Group.

For those who opt for à la carte, don’t fret, there’s still a Thanksgiving dinner option, which is a plateful of the usual suspects—turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, peas, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and, of course, giblet gravy. There are also dozens of appetizers and entrées to choose from.

For the more adventurous, the buffet will satisfy any appetite, big or small. Says Morgan, “We host a lavish Thanksgiving spread that includes two full carving stations with turkey and our award-winning prime rib. In addition, we have a children’s buffet, and a grand dessert buffet which includes the traditional pumpkin pie and fun favorites like chocolate-covered strawberries.”

Options for Everyone

This is the first year that Ted’s Montana Grill at Christiana Mall is open for Thanksgiving. “We’ve been open for Thanksgiving at other Ted’s locations for a while now,” says Jessica Smith, senior director of marketing at Ted’s. “It’s because of numerous requests that we’re now open for Thanksgiving at our Christiana location.”

Ted’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will offer a set Thanksgiving feast and an à la carte menu.

The feast is a three-course meal served with a choice of soup, side salad or chili; roast turkey and gravy with garlic mashed potatoes, buttered carrots, “Aunt Fannie’s” squash casserole, herb dressing and cranberry sauce, and Ted’s famous apple pecan crisp.

For those not into turkey, the set menu will have guest favorites like Ted’s hand-cut bison or beef Delmonico ribeye, Cedar Plank Salmon, and a variety of burgers.

In addition to its Thanksgiving day meal, Ted’s will also offer special Thanksgiving pick-up for those who need help with their at-home preparation. The same Thanksgiving roast turkey feast served at the restaurant is packaged to go and costs $120 for four to six servings and $230 for eight to 10 servings.

Says Smith, “We want to make you look good, so we’re happy to help with the entire meal or just individual pieces like the accompaniments or whole turkey.” Pick-up orders should be made no later than Nov. 13—the week prior to Thanksgiving.

Clear out Your Fridge

Before you make that trip to the restaurant, clear out your fridge, because you are likely to have the usual Thanksgiving leftovers, only this time they’ll be from a restaurant, not your kitchen.

At Columbus Inn, for instance, most of the meal is served family-style, and anything left is packaged to take home. “Everyone who dines with us leaves with plenty of leftovers,” says General Manager Hayla DeLano. So even if you’re too full for dessert, your server will pack everything away for takeout, including Columbus Inn’s signature apple fritters and the traditional pumpkin pie.

The Pennsylvania Avenue restaurant’s Thanksgiving Day menu is similar to a tasting menu and includes a soup and salad, with entrées, sides, and dessert served family-style like the traditional homemade meal.

According to DeLano, “the proteins take the cake.” Columbus Inn treats its guests to not one but two entrée choices—roasted turkey and filet mignon. The restaurant also can accommodate vegetarians by substituting a pasta dish or its famous Asian fried rice for the turkey.

Reservations are suggested, especially for prime-time seating at 3 p.m. Columbus Inn has limited space for large families, who are typically seated upstairs in the private dining area.

Options for dining out on Thanksgiving:

Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront, Wilmington
When: 11 am to 7 pm
Pricing: $33.95 per person, $16.95 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and younger.
Reservations are requested and are available by calling 652-3474. Walk-ins welcome. A small à la carte menu will be available.

Deerfield Golf Club, Newark
When: Noon to 6 pm
Pricing: $59.95 per person, $16.95 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and younger.
Reservations are required, and are available by calling 368-6640 or booking online through OpenTable.
Service charge and alcoholic beverages not included.

Columbus Inn, Wilmington
When: 1 to 7 pm
Pricing: $48 per person, $24 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and younger.
Reservations are requested and are available by calling 571-1492.

Hilton Wilmington/Christiana, Newark
When: Noon to 6 pm
Pricing: $54.95 per person, $19.95 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for children 5 and younger.
Reservations are requested and are available by calling 631-1540.

Jessop’s Tavern, New Castle
When: 11:30 am to 6 pm
Pricing: $25 per person
Reservations are requested and are available by calling 322-6111. Last seating is at 6 pm.

Harry’s Savoy Grill, N. Wilmington
When: Buffet menu is available in the Ballroom from noon to 6:30 pm. Á la Carte menu is available in the Restaurant 1 to 9 pm.
Pricing: Buffet $49.95 per person, $17.95 for children 5 to 12 and free for children under 5. An 18 percent service charge and alcoholic beverages not included. Á la Carte – items individually priced.
Reservations are requested and are available by calling 475-3000.

Ted’s Montana Grill, Newark
When: 11 am to 8 pm
Pricing: $29 per person, $13 for children 12 and under.  Á la Carte – items individually priced.
Reservations are requested and are available by calling 366-1601.

Have Your Meal Catered!

Want to stay home for Thanksgiving but don’t want to prepare a meal? Local caterers are ready to serve you. Make your holiday less stressful and more special by pre-ordering your entire meal or portions of it from professionals.

Montrachet Fine Foods, Janssen’s Market and Bachetti Bros. Gourmet Market & Catering offer oven-ready turkeys and a host of delectable side dishes.

Thanksgiving is Montrachet Fine Food’s biggest holiday; it’s even open on Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. to accommodate those with any last-minute catering needs.

“We’re open 364 days a year,” says Susan Teiser, chef and owner of Montrachet Fine Foods and Centreville Café. “We want to make your day easy, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or another major holiday.”

Montrachet Fine Foods runs its catering business out of Centreville Café and is located on Kennett Pike and the corner of Owl’s Nest Road, just a stone’s throw from Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.

When you visit, make sure to head straight to its freezers to admire its beautifully presented appetizers. You’ll see mini crab cakes, tiny scallops wrapped in bacon, baby beef Wellingtons, and pastry-wrapped mushroom duxelles (aka mushroom stuffing).

In addition to its extensive list of appetizers, Teiser says Montrachet offers a handful of special soups; this year it’s mushroom, lobster bisque, chicken soup, butternut squash and tomato dill.

Montrachet also makes six different Thanksgiving pies, including apple crumble, pumpkin and sweet potato, and four types of stuffing, including traditional, sausage with and without mushrooms, Italian-style, and chestnut.

And for those afraid of serving a sub-par gravy, Montrachet roasts off entire whole turkeys, in addition to the those it roasts for customers, to make enormous batches of turkey stock for folks courageous enough to make gravy at home.

Says Teiser, “There’s no wrong way to do Thanksgiving; we have some customers that only buy gravy for the big day.”

Travel south on Kennett Pike and you’ll run into one of Delaware’s favorite independent grocers, Janssen’s Market. This Greenville landmark has been in business for more than 50 years and was named the country’s most Outstanding Independent Grocer last year by Progressive Grocer.

When it comes to catering, General Manager Paula Janssen’s motto is simple: “Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your family and what you like to do.”

For example, Janssen’s offers Delaware free-range turkeys from T.A. Farms, LLC in Wyoming, Del. The turkeys are so fresh that they’re available for purchase on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, only days after slaughter.

“It doesn’t get fresher than that. The best part is that you don’t have a frozen turkey in the fridge for an entire week,” says Janssen.

And, if you’re looking for a bit more flavor and pizazz, order the capon or rooster, which may be more suitable for large families since it has more meat on it than turkey on a per-pound basis.

For those who don’t want to do any cooking on Thanksgiving, Janssen’s offers special meal packages that are organized by number of servings and protein. For example, a dinner for six to eight people includes either a beef tenderloin, boneless sliced ham or roasted turkey, and two sides, a potato or starch, and vegetable side, which are selected by weight. Examples of sides include Indian corn pudding, scalloped potatoes, and green bean almondine. All meals include freshly baked rolls, a home-baked pie (pop it in the oven to warm, and make your house smell great), and a floral centerpiece.

Pre-order by mid-November. Janssen’s is closed on Thanksgiving Day but open until 7 p.m. the day before.

For those who are always late to order, Bachetti Bros. on Kirkwood Highway has you covered. Family-owned and operated, Bachetti Bros. offers everything from deli meats to whole roasted pig. And for the holiday, it offers complete Thanksgiving dinners reasonably priced at $16.49 per person.

“There’s no minimum size order. We will serve one to 1,000,” says Laura Morris, catering office manager at Bachetti.

The dinner, served family-style, includes oven-roasted turkey, housemade gravy, herb stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, vegetable medley, coleslaw, pumpkin raisin bread and, of course, cranberry relish.

Place your order by Friday, Nov. 16, and pick up the following week, either Nov. 19, 20, or 21.

Says Morris, “We close early on Wednesday, Nov. 21, so the latest pickup time is 3 p.m.”

Thanksgiving Catering

Bachetti Bros. Gourmet Market & Catering,
4723 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, 994-4467, bachettis.com

Janssen’s Market,
3801 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 654-9941 or catering@janssensmarket.com, janssensfinefoods.com

Montrachet Fine Foods,
5800 Kennett Pike, Centreville, Susan or Kathy at 425-5808, centrevillecafe.com/montrachet.

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