There are plenty of reasons to make reservations at restaurants open on Thanksgiving.Everyone feels all warm and fuzzy about the holiday until it actually arrives—and then chaos reigns. Why hasn’t the turkey defrosted? Who’s putting together the yams? Can we just go to a dive bar? Sigh. You could dine at one of Austin’s best BBQ restaurants or gorge yourself on steak at the city’s top steakhouses, but wouldn’t it be nice to feast on an actual Thanksgiving dinner—without the cleanup? That’s exactly what a handful of Austin restaurants are offering this year—here are some of our favorites.
RECOMMENDED: Thanksgiving in Austin
Austin restaurants open on Thanksgiving
On the menu: Come to Apis for anything but your average turkey and three sides. Peekytoe crab salad, duck and foie gras terrine, and orecchiette alle campidenese are just the beginning of an exotic Thanksgiving prix fixe. Even the bird gets the royal treatment: cider-brined and slowly roasted breast is served along with turkey leg hash and sourdough stuffing. The decadent meal ends with your choice of wood oven-roasted pumpkin custard or a Valrhonna chocolate torte.
Cost: $70 adults/$20 children (12 and under)
On the Menu: This farm-to-table restaurant levels up Thanksgiving dinner with their three-course holiday offering. The menu reflects both the traditional (stuffing, new potatoes, turkey and pumpkin pie) and the modern (smoked corn chowder, mushroom apricot wild rice, prime rib). For those looking to indulge, they’re also offering 25 percent off bottles of wine under $100 and $2 off local beer.
On the menu: The Thanksgiving buffet at Second Bar + Kitchen Domain NORTHSIDE is available all day. Their family-style offerings include a slow roasted turkey carving station, sourdough sage stuffing, jalapeno-roasted sweet potato casserole, black pepper parsnip au gratin and a bar buffet with lighter plates and dessert bites.
Cost: $38 adults/$19 children
On the menu: Breakfast or lunch? At the Carillon, you won’t have to choose. The buffet encompasses both breakfast offerings and a Thanksgiving lunch. Dishes include eggs Benedict, cold seafood, charcuterie, carving stations featuring prime rib and roasted turkey, along with swordfish and lamb loin and desserts like brown sugar apple bread pudding and bourbon pecan torte.
Cost: $68 adults/$30 children
On the menu: Chef Will Packwood is offering a three-course gourmet Thanksgiving dinner with selections that are traditional with a twist: Sweet potato gnocchi, Heritage turkey, cornbread canederli, EVOO whipped potatoes and wild mushroom gratin. Desserts include a maple-pecan crostata and cranberry upside-down cake, and wine pairings for each course are also an option.
Cost: $65/$95 with wine pairings
On the menu: Trio doesn’t skimp on buffets, and Thanksgiving is no exception. With more than 80 breakfast, lunch and dinner items on the buffet, everyone will find something they crave. The smorgasbord includes pumpkin spiced glazed ham, brown sugar glazed parsnips, crispy redfish, smoked sausage, a kale caesar, made-to-order omelettes, fresh churros and hot cocoa. Dine at Trio proper or in the Four Seasons ballroom that boasts a live piano.
Time: 11am–8pm in TRIO (also available from 11am–3pm in the Four Seasons Ballroom.)
Cost: $88 adult/$35 children
On the menu: Moonshine is hosting a specialty brunch for Thanksgiving featuring their famous fried chicken, green chile grits and all the added Thanksgiving specialties thrown in. Mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans will be on the menu, plus a carving station with lamb, turkey and pork tenderloin. They’re one of the few restaurants open on Thanksgiving that aren’t requiring reservations; it’s first-come, first-served, so you might need a back-up plan if they’re full.
Cost: $28 (kids are half off)
On the menu: Dine in the upscale surrounds of Trace where they’re offering a three-course menu with a choice of white bean soup, salad nicoise or arugula salad, coffee-rubbed short rib, pork shoulder, golden beet risotto or prosciutto wrapped turkey breast and a dessert selection that includes apple spice cake, pumpkin pie or a walnut fig. They’ve also curated a kid-friendly menu for your little ones.
Cost: $57 adults/$20 children
On the menu: Executive chef Joshua Thomas hosts a Southern-inspired Thanksgiving brunch using rustic, farm-fresh produce and ingredients. Slow roasted Akaushi prime rib and sage-brined turkey breast are served along with rich breakfast dishes such as brioche french toast and eggs benedict. Adults receive one alcoholic drink included in the price.
Cost: $85 adults/$40 children 6-12/ kids under 6 eat free
Time: Two seatings; 11am and 1pm
On the menu: Each year, 24 Diner comes to the rescue with their full menu plus a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that includes all the fixings. You’ll get brined and roasted turkey, turkey confit, house cured ham and a choice of two sides (dressing, mashed potatoes, collard greens, brussels sprouts.)—and, of course, pumpkin pie.
On the menu: The Capital Grille has put together a Thanksgiving prix-fixe feast, featuring slow-roasted turkey with brioche stuffing, French green beans, cranberry pear chutney and Sam’s mashed potatoes to share. Dessert is a pumpkin cheesecake (drool). For those who eschew the traditional, the full à la carte regular menu is available.
Cost: $39 adults, $15 for kids (12 and under)
On the menu: Threadgill’s is open all day on Thanksgiving, serving a limited holiday menu. Don’t worry— you won’t leave hungry. Turkey, pork chops, ham, chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, sirloin ribeye, dressing, potatoes, yams—your plate combinations are endless. The Austin staple also offers fantastic vegetarian options, plus six homemade desserts.
On the menu: Spice-rubbed turkey with fixings and roasted beef tenderloin with whipped potatoes anchor the three-course Thanksgiving feast at III Forks. They’re also serving a limited number of their regular menu items like Chilean seabass, Wagyu steaks, rack of lamb and six cheese potatoes if you’re trying to please a crowd.
Cost: $48 adults/$18 children under 12
On the menu: B.D Riley’s is the kind of spot that’s figured it all out: Great food, top-notch service and an excellent bar. If you’re looking for something a little different on Thanksgiving, they’re serving a complete turkey dinner with all the trimmings, a limited selection from their regular menu and desserts including Irish Coffee ice cream from Amy's. No reservations necessary, kiddos welcome.
On the menu: In year’s past, Casa De Luz has had a lovely Thanksgiving option for people looking to eat a little lighter. Though the menu is still in the works, we can assume a meat-free creative selection of soups, salads and sides is on the docket. Maybe this year you won’t need to wear stretch pants.
On the menu: Hoover’s is synonymous with home cooking in Austin, and their Thanksgiving menu reflects that. Diners can choose from an entrée, two sides plus cornbread dressing, Caribbean rice and hot rolls. Options run the gamut from turkey to fried chicken to smoked brisket and in addition to the norm (e.g. mashed potatoes) they have non-traditional sides.
Cost: $19.99 adults/$9.95 children 12 and under
On the menu: As if the huge skewers of roasted meats weren’t enough, Estancia Churrascaria adds a Thanksgiving feast to their holiday roster, featuring roasted turkey breast, Brazilian stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, brown gravy, and pumpkin pie. Their salad bar and traditional Brazilian side dishes are included as well.
On the menu: Though the Driskill’s Thanksgiving dinner is sold out, there’s still time to get in on the the Mezzanine Brunch. They’ll be serving the regular brunch buffet along with Thanksgiving items, with dishes that include the famous cheese soup, scratch sweet potato biscuits, seafood on ice (oysters! salmon! crab claws!), turkey, prime rib, glazed ham, pumpkin ravioli, whipped potatoes, butternut squash risotto and, of course, beautiful desserts. Bonus: Brunch includes unlimited champagne.
Cost: $85 adults/$40 children (6-12 years)