Which Restaurants Are Open on Thanksgiving?

Nothing wrong with getting takeout on Turkey Day.

November 02, 2021

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Photo by: Photo courtesy of Cracker Barrel

Photo courtesy of Cracker Barrel

With travel on the decline and household-only meals encouraged, last year’s Thanksgiving felt unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. Now, we’re creeping back toward normalcy – but you still might decide to take it easy on the cooking (or not cook at all). And that’s more than okay. If there has ever been a time when we all deserve to sit back and order in, this would be it.

The good news? Our favorite restaurants are here for us. From a casual burger to full-fledged turkey and stuffing, a number of chains across the country will be open on Thanksgiving to help you celebrate the day however you like.

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Photo by: 10'000 Hours/Getty

10'000 Hours/Getty

Cracker Barrel: Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is Cracker Barrel’s busiest day of the year. This time around, the fan favorite is cooking up a host of holiday specials, including Thanksgiving Heat n’ Serve Feasts for 8-10 and Family Dinners for 4-6 with oven-roasted turkey breast, cornbread dressing, turkey gravy, cranberry relish, sweet potato casseroles with pecans, your choice of country sides and sweet yeast rolls. Guests who pick up their meal the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving will receive a bonus gift card – $5 with an order of a Thanksgiving Heat n’ Serve Family Dinner or $10 with an order of a Thanksgiving Heat n’ Serve Feast. Don’t forget room for dessert. Cracker Barrel will also be cooking up pumpkin, apple pecan streusel, pecan, chocolate and a new cinnamon roll pie. If you prefer to dine in, you can get your turkey and dressing hot, too.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Craving some buffalo wings for the big Thanksgiving Day game? You’re in luck – a number of Buffalo Wild Wings will be open.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill: For Thanksgiving with an Italian twist, you can order a three-course turkey dinner with sides like sausage and apple stuffing and cannoli or tiramisu for dessert from Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Those looking to celebrate from home can take advantage of a special Take-and-Warm Turkey Feast with all the fixings to feed 5 or 10 people.

McDonald’s: According to some people, the best apple pie is McDonald’s Baked Apple Pie. Fortunately for them, many locations of the fast-food chain will be open on Turkey Day. Because 95% of McDonald’s are independently owned and operated, holiday business hours will vary by location.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House: Searching for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with none of the hassle? Ruth’s Chris Steak House will be offering a take-home feast for four that includes jazzed up versions of the essentials, like oven-roasted turkey with sausage and herb stuffing and personal pumpkin cheesecake. If you’re a sides person (and who isn’t?) you can also order classics like potatoes au gratin and green beans with roasted garlic to complement your own turkey. Should you choose to dine in-person this year, the restaurant will even send you home with an extra portion of your favorite side to take home.

Waffle House: Since first opening in 1955, Waffle House has been known for being open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Thanksgiving is no exception.

Bob Evans: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every Thanksgiving, Bob Evans’ comforting, homestyle cooking will be available for dine-in and carryout. Enjoy all-day breakfast options or a Holiday Celebration Platter with slow-roasted turkey, three farm-fresh sides, an endless choice of freshly baked bread and a slice of pie. If you’re feeding a crowd, make things simple with their Farmhouse Feast, a ready-to-heat Thanksgiving meal for 4-10 that comes with sides like bread and celery dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans with ham, macaroni and cheese, cranberry relish, rolls and pumpkin pie.

Panda Express: If you’re looking for something a little less traditional this year, consider feasting on kung pao chicken and honey walnut shrimp. Many Panda Express restaurants will be open, but guests should check online for adjusted holiday hours.

Boston Market: As self-described “holiday experts,” Boston Market will offer an array of festive options, including Heat & Serve meals for six to 12 people, including a whole roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetable stuffing, spinach artichoke dip with crackers, cranberry walnut relish, dinner rolls, one apple pie and one pumpkin pie. Of course, restaurants will also be open to help guests a la carte and any last-minute additions. If you’re looking for a deal, buy a $50 gift card now and get a $15 bonus gift card. (It never hurts to have an extra pie or two!)

Burger King: Want to keep things simple – or just grab lunch before the big meal? Many Burger King locations are open on Thanksgiving.

Buca di Beppo: All locations of this group-friendly chain open at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving. In addition to their massive plates of chicken parmesan, meatballs and pasta, you can order sliced turkey, homestyle gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spicy Italian sausage stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Denny’s: Denny’s serves up diner classics 24/7, but expands the menu every Thanksgiving. Their Thanksgiving turkey dinner includes favorites like dressing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. For a casual spin on the season, try their pumpkin pecan pancakes, drizzled with pecan pie sauce.

Applebee’s: Fill up on appetizers or get a Family Bundle Meal – with favorites like riblets and mac-and-cheese – to-go from your neighborhood Applebee’s. Because each restaurant is independently owned and operated, hours will vary by location.

Popeyes: Popeyes offers the ultimate spicy holiday staple: Cajun Style Turkey. Because it’s pre-cooked, all you have to do is pop it in your own oven to heat up. Participating restaurants will be taking orders via phone or in person while supplies last. (And yes, they do sell out).

TGI Fridays: TGI Fridays around the country will be open on Turkey Day if you’re hungry for whisky-glazed ribs and loaded cheeseburgers.

Domino’s: Pizza is another great option if you need something extra to snack on during the football game.

Pizza Hut: More into Pizza Hut? Don’t worry – you’ll be able to order up their Stuffed Crust Pizza and boneless wings, too.

Sonic Drive-In: Need a pick-me-up on the way to grandma’s house? Dash through sonic for an order of tater tots and a shake – most locations are open on Thanksgiving.

Wendy’s: Is it really Thanksgiving without Spicy Nuggets? Swing by your local Wendy’s and pick some up for a less-than-traditional appetizer.

IHOP: Begin the celebration early with a new Holiday Celebrations Family Feast (take-out and delivery only), including four servings of scrambled eggs, golden hash browns, hickory-smoked bacon or pork sausage, fluffy buttermilk pancakes and festive toppings like vanilla bean mousse and mini marshmallows. Pancake lovers will have even more to be grateful for this year with a variety of Thanksgiving-themed flavors such as Pumpkin Spice Pancakes and Cranberry Vanilla Pancakes.

Subway: Looking to get a turkey sandwich in before your turkey dinner? Fortunately for you, many Subway locations are open on, well, Turkey day.

Starbucks: If you’re anything like us, you’ll need some caffeine to finish cooking up Thanksgiving dinner. Thankfully, most Starbucks locations are open nationwide.

Because restaurants’ operating times may vary per location and COVID-19 restrictions, always call ahead to confirm and check for adjusted hours.

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