Instead of toiling over turkey and grappling with relatives at home, take the calming route and hit up one of the many Chicago restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinner. It's what the pilgrims would have wanted. Here are some spots for surefire holiday deliciousness, stress-free:
Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap: If "tipsy turkey platters" sound like things you'd like to eat on Thanksgiving, head to Jake Melnick's Corner Tap for a casual alternative to the overwrought holiday spread. Available from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on November 27, the platters contain beer-brined smoked turkey, country-style peppercorn gravy, and cornbread muffins, with sides such as roasted garlic mashed potatoes, bourbon-glazed carrots, and cornbread stuffing. There's also pecan pie with bourbon maple whipped cream on hand, because you need that. To drink, Jake's will be pouring out New Belgium Brewery's Pumkick and cranberry-spiced sangria. Additionally, Jake Melnick's November burger of the month is dubbed the Holiday Turkey Burger, a behemoth of turkey patty, cornbread stuffing, cranberry relish, and rosemary mayo on a brioche bun. Be thankful.
Nico Osteria: For something a little more high end, why not rent out a penthouse at the Thompson Chicago and let loose on a luxurious meal catered by resident restaurant Nico Osteria? Thanksgiving comes but once a year, live a little. The "Grateful Gathering at Thompson Chicago" package is sure to be one to remember, complete with overnight accommodations in one of the bi-level loft suites, an ideal setting for a meal provided by Nico's chef de cuisine Erling Wu Bower and pastry chef Amanda Rockman. Available for guests to enjoy in the fancy privacy of their suite, the meal includes passed appetizers like oysters, squash and porcini soup, and stracciatela crostini, followed by tagliatelle al bolognese with turkey ragu. Third course, served family-style, is roasted turkey breast with cotechino stuffing, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and green beans with tomato. Then it's dessert time, featuring a pie display by Rockman.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse: Classic American Thanksgiving food is on deck and more delicious than ever at Chicago Cut Steakhouse. Let's keep it simple: you don't want to worry about cooking and cleaning, you just want to eat familiar holiday comfort food. Go here for butternut squash soup, candied sweet potatoes, maple-glazed turkey, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie.
Marion Street Market: With seatings available all day on Thanksgiving, family-style feasting can easily be yours at Marion Street Market. Chef/partner Steve Chiapetti has whipped up a drool-worthy olio of holiday creations served as composed plates. After visiting the cheese and charcuterie stations, guests select from various plates for their entrees. These include roasted turkey breast or braised turkey leg with cranberry stuffing, roasted squash, buttered potato puree, and tomato cranberry crostini; roasted pork loin stuffed with mushrooms; seared halibut with Swiss chard, acorn squash puree, and brown butter sauce; and housemade tagliatelle with fresh tomatoes, peas, and garlic sauce. When that's all said and done, there's a dessert station waiting to satisfy. The meal costs $24.95 per person. Thanksgiving dishes are also available for pick-up in the form of a $110 dinner to serve eight people. Seatings are available at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. and reservations can be made.
Coco Pazzo Cafe: This year, an Italian classic is putting a Euro spin on the American pastime with a multi-course prix fixe menu for $45. Available all day long, the menu contains options for each course, including appetizers like acorn squash soup and mixed greens salad; second courses like shrimp risotto and butternut squash pasta; entrees like pan-roasted whitefish and herb-roasted turkey; and desserts like gelato and budino. The prix fixe costs $45 per person, or dishes are also available a la carte. Reservations can be made by calling 312-664-2777.
LM Restaurant Group: If your Thanksgiving cravings are best satisfied with a French accent, then it's LM Restaurant Group to the rescue! Brasserie by LM and Troquet River North are both open on the holiday serving up specials. The former will offer a $35 prix fixe menu including appetizers, entrees, sides, and dessert. The latter will be offering a holiday special: roasted turkey sandwich with cranberry compote and Brussels sprout slaw served on a croissant with sweet potato fries.
Park Grill: If memorable settings are of importance for you, it's hard to beat Park Grill in the heart of Millennium Park. The stunning restaurant will be open on Thanksgiving from 11:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. offering a la carte specials in addition to its regular menu. Said specials include autumn-spiced butternut squash soup, pumpkin ravioli with turkey confit, house-smoked turkey breast sandwiches with cranberry-Dijon relish, turkey roulade with creamed leeks, and pumpkin pie.
The Chicago Firehouse: The Thanksgiving Day buffet is as much a tradition at The Chicago Firehouse as the Macy's Day Parade is to New York City. Basically. Running from 11:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the all-you-can-eat menu runs the gamut of breakfast and dinner fare, all for just $49.99 per adult and $19.99 for children five to 12. The buffet includes an omelette station, carving station, roasted turkey, soups, corn pudding, garlic roasted cauliflower, stuffing, mashed potatoes, caramelized sweet potatoes, cranberry-apple crumb pie, sweet potato cobbler, and more. Make a reservation by visiting the Chicago Firehouse.