The only thing more boring about Thanksgiving than Uncle Harry's favorite Pilgrim-walks-into-a-bar joke? The same-old, same-old menu of turkey-stuffing-potatoes-gravy-cranberry sauce served side-by-side on a plate. But fear not: Here we share some unique Philly riffs on traditional Thanksgiving fare that will free you from the Turkey Day menu rut.
Thanksgiving Balls at the Blind Pig
The NoLibs gastropub’s most famous app is a deep-fried double entendre consisting of turkey roasted at the bar, stuffing and mashed potatoes, all rolled in panko bread crumbs and served with sides of gravy, cranberry sauce and a dash of off-color humor that’d make Grandma blush. $9/two.
The Gobbling at Humpty’s Dumplings
Stop the multidish Thanksgiving dinner madness. Instead serve your guests a single bowl of these turkey-, stuffing- and cranberry-filled dumplings from the fusion-noodle emporium. $7.50/five.
Thanksgiving Poutine at Smoke’s Poutinerie
Canadians celebrate the harvest with a big feast, don’cha know—only six weeks earlier than us. That’s why the South Street branch of Canadian poutinerie chain Smoke’s has been offering this special—piling turkey, stuffing, peas and cranberry sauce on top of the usual cheese curds, gravy and fries—since early October. $11.
Gobblerito at Mad Mex
Through Thanksgiving Eve, Mad Mex rolls your T-Day standbys—turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing—into a burrito with black beans and corn. It’s finished with a healthy douse of gravy and a side of cranberry sauce. $12.
The turducken at Jake’s Sandwich Board
Spicy creole seasoning gives kick to the turducken at this two-location Philly sandwich shop. The stacker was such a hit when it debuted in 2010 that it inspired the similar but stuffing-less permanent menu item, the Turbacon. $12.
The Dickens at McNally’s Tavern
Nowadays Philly’s awash in Thanksgiving sandwiches (even Wawa has one!). But at 30 years young, McNally’s fresh roasted turkey breast with stuffing and cranberry sauce is a holiday-sandwich pioneer in our fair city. And the tavern’s cozy, wood-lined interior is the picture-perfect place to eat it. $12.
Mayflower Express at Destination Dogs
It’s traditional to eat hot dogs on the Fourth of July. But the Center City hot dog bar has dreamed up a sausage sandwich for our national day of thanks. The Mayflower consists of a duck sausage topped with mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and candied pecans. And during Thanksgiving week the bar also offers a turducken-sausage special that switches the stuffing for potatoes and gravy. $12.
Tur-duck-en burger at Smokin’ Betty’s
A year-round favorite at Center City barbecue and burger joint Smokin’ Betty’s, the hybrid burger was featured on the Food Network’s show Outrageous Food, and for good reason. Its crazy-long ingredient list includes fresh-ground turkey and chicken, duck mousse, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and sweet potato chips, all held between a LeBus bun. $12.95.
Thanksgiving Burger at Lucky’s Last Chance
Though the spot’s peanut-butter-and-jelly burger is a Burger Brawl People’s Choice award winner, this returning November Burger of the Month—in which turkey, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce are placed atop a cheeseburger—should not be overlooked. $11.50.
Totsgiving Special at the Tot Cart
Tater-tot casseroles are a Midwestern staple and the inspiration for this one-and-a-half-pound Tot Cart food truck wonder. Slow-roasted, shredded turkey breasts are combined with stuffing and gravy, placed on a bed of tater tots and decorated with cranberry-orange drizzle. $10.
Colonial turkey pot pie at City Tavern
The eatery serves a full Thanksgiving meal on Turkey Day. But this pot-pie mash-up of Thanksgiving dinner favorites like turkey, mushrooms, potatoes and peas is its best-seller the other 363 days it’s open. Chef-owner Walter Staib says the dish is based on a recipe from the United States’ first published cookbook, but enhanced with sherry cream sauce in a nod to the French who made up 10 percent of Philly’s 1790 population. $21.95.
Pumpple cake at Flying Monkey Bakery
Featured on the Today Show, this behemoth is basically the turducken of desserts. Pumpkin and apple pies are baked inside chocolate and vanilla cakes that are covered in buttercream icing. $8/slice, $45–$75/six- or nine-inch cake.
Pumpkin pie dumplings at Humpty’s Dumplings
All the amazing flavors that make pumpkin pie—cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and clover—combine with fresh pumpkin as filling for a house-made and crispy fried dumpling. $7/five
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