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Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving

Updated on September 21, 2015
Introductory picture was taken by me.
Introductory picture was taken by me.

Having Thanksgiving Dinner at a Restaurant

Eating out for Thanksgiving is sometimes a necessary alternative to having a home-cooked meal. Sometimes it is preferable. Cooking a big dinner and having to clean up is very time-consuming. Sometimes people have to work on Thanksgiving and have to have a simple meal before going off to work. Sometimes people won't be able to spend time with their family and would still like to be around people for the holidays. If you are going to have to eat somewhere other than home for Thanksgiving then here are some restaurants that will be open on Thanksgiving.

Always remember to tip very well on holidays. These people are spending time away from their family to give you a convenient meal. And please be patient. I used to work at Denny's and working on holidays is required. It was always crowded for every holiday (it's enough to make you wonder if people actually have home-cooked meals or if it's all just a myth) and it takes a long time for the kitchen to catch up. If you are going to eat out for Thanksgiving be prepared to wait.

This is not a comprehensive list and I only include national chains. Some local restaurants may remain open for Thanksgiving. This list has not yet been updated for 2014, but most of these restaurants are open on holidays every year.

Waffle House

Waffle House never closes.

Every Waffle House is open all day every day of the year.

IHOP

IHOP is open every day of the year.

IHOP stays open every day. Their hours may be reduced for Thanksgiving (some of them close as early as 2pm). The restaurants which are normally open twenty-four hours may stay open all day for Thanksgiving.

Denny's

Denny's is open all day every day of the year.

Denny's always stays open. They have a special Thanksgiving meal as well as serving their entire menu.

Luby's

Luby's is open Thanksgiving day.

On Thanksgiving day Luby's will be open from 11am to 8pm. They will be having a Thanksgiving special. You can also get lots of food to go if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner but don't want to cook. If you're ordering their Thanksgiving "feast" you have to order at least 48 hours in advance and pick it up between 7am and 10am.

Golden Corral

Golden Corral has reduced hours on Thanksgiving.

Golden Corral will be open for a few hours in the afternoon on Thanksgiving. The hours will not be the same for every location, but their website says all locations will be open on Thanksgiving.

Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel will be open starting at 11am on Thanksgiving.

Cracker Barrel will be having a Thanksgiving special. They will also have a large Thanksgiving special (that can feed up to six people) that they will prepare to go for people who want to have Thanksgiving at home but don't want to cook. For the large Thanksgiving special you will have to call at least twenty-four hours in advance.

Shoney's

Shoney's will be open on Thanksgiving.

Shoney's will have a Thanksgiving buffet after 11am. Before 11am they will be having a breakfast buffet. Shoney's is offering a free slice of pumpkin pie with the buffet. Children under four eat from the buffet for free.

Boston Market

Boston Market offers catering on Thanksgiving.

Boston Market's catering rules are different for Thanksgiving. You have to order by 5pm the night before and there's a $75 dollar minimum to pick up the food, $100 minimum to have it delivered. They also offer many different "banquet" meals that are pre-cooked, you just have to heat it and it's ready to serve.

TGI Friday's

TGI Friday's has football watching parties on Thanksgiving.

Some TGI Friday's will be open for Thanksgiving this year. They will have reduced hours. Not every TGI Friday's stays open on Thanksgiving, though. The ones that do, open later than usual.

© 2011 Marigold Tortelli

Are There Any Restaurants That I Missed? If there's a restaurant that you know will be open on Thanksgiving, let us know in the comments.

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    • profile image

      Jimprobable 21 months ago

      This one isn't a chain restaurant, but if you live near the Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts area, Frank's Steak House in North Cambridge is open Thanksgiving Day from about noon until 8:00 p.m. with a special menu offering several choices that include traditional turkey dinner and favorites filet mignon and prime rib, plus desserts and a full bar.

      After the deaths of my father, stepmother and an aunt (who was my dad's last surviving sibling, and our only relative still geographically close), our family for holidays thus considerably diminished, my sister and I were seeking some restaurants open on Thanksgiving and Christmas just in case we didn't always feel like eating at home and going to the bother of cooking for just two people. Plus, sometimes it's a little less depressing to be out and about having dinner with other folks interacting, and a bit of holiday ambience. So Frank's fits our bill nicely, as my sister usually still cooks a small turkey for herself and sends me home with a few servings too, freeing both of us to enjoy one of our favorite entrées--prime rib for my sister, and filet mignon for myself.

      FRANKly (pun intended), I don't know what we'd do if our old standby, Frank's Steak House, were ever to be closed Thanksgiving Day, since so few restaurants are open on that holiday. Another place we had been going to (Benjamin's in Taunton, MA, because it was located closer to my current home) the past few years suddenly went out of business, leading us back to Frank's for our Turkey Day (or I should say "Prime Mignon Day") dinner.

      So the fact remains, unless one would wish to go considerably downscale and eat Thanksgiving dinner at a Dunkin' Donuts, Denny's or IHOP, the dining-out options for a more medium-to-upscale restaurant are rather limited on both the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. And that is why I am very grateful Frank's Steak House exists and is open on Thanksgiving Day, as one of a very few good restaurants fairly close by in my area of the world.

      Call Frank's ahead to make reservations--there are booths and tables available, last seating probably about 6:00-6:30 p.m. (so the staff can get out by close to closing time and go home to be with their families for what's left of the holiday). The telephone # is: (617) 661-0666, and the address is 2310 Massachusetts Ave, North Cambridge, MA 02140.

      By the way, Frank's was a favorite of former Boston Celtics basketball player Larry Bird, as well the late Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, the latter who grew up and lived in the North Cambridge neighborhood his entire life when not in the District of Columbia politicking. But as "Tip" was fond of saying, "All politics is local."

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 4 years ago

      Marigold, the home-cooked meal is not a myth...I know, because my husband and I are hosting the feast this year and NOTHING will be pre-packaged or from a can. But it is so nice to know that there are alternatives because you are absolutely correct -- home-cooking is very time consuming!

      Thanksgiving is a special gift to our hearts -- having alternatives makes it even better because everyone can participate! Thank you for your thoughtfulness in preparing this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very good list, very informative.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Great list, thanks for sharing.

    • KayeSI profile image

      KayeSI 4 years ago

      What a great resource. We've eaten out on Thanksgiving several times when visiting elderly relatives out of town. It makes it a sweet treat for them and an easy visit for us. Coco's is another that is often open. Thanks for a great resource and your encouraging visit to my lens! :)

    • profile image

      Ruthi 5 years ago

      I have worked the Thanksgiving holiday at two of the restaurants listed: Cracker Barrel and TGIFridays. I currently work at a privately owned restaurant that is closed most holidays; thankfully, and it is as it should be (I think).

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Great list. We like eating at Cracker Barrel for Thanksgiving, and enjoy the convenience.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Important info! Thanks!!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Good to know where to go for to eat out during the holidays.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 5 years ago from France

      Quite a few people look for somewhere to eat out on special holidays, not everyone wants to slave over a hot stove on what is meant to be a holiday so this list should be very useful for them. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I made a traditional dinner again this year and love being able to do that and have the leftovers. I have family out of state that go to a fine restaurant for Thanksgiving and wouldn't have it any other way and always happy with that.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      All of the restaurants are open here. You'll have to come to Canada. Only a short drive and the roads are not snowy right now. Just a thought. Blessed this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Eating out may be a necessity for some people who do not have a family around but may want to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner with their friends. These options are going to help them.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      If you like near a casino with restaurants, they are usually open 365 days a years. The two near us have choices of restaurants from the average to the upscale, plus buffets.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      I don't know of any others off hand. We have eaten out on Thanksgiving before, but it wasn't at a national chain.giggletwit

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Helpful list for those choosing to eat out on Thanksgiving. I just might do this myself this year.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      We have a tradition of eating out on Christmas at an Asian place, but have not done it for Thanksgiving. We might need to consider it. I like Vallain's suggestion also. We had friends who did this for Easter dinner every year and it was great, because there were so many of us with no family in the area. It was a very fun tradition.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I can understand why people might eat in a restaurant on what is considered a family holiday. Many live too far away or can't afford to travel or may not even have family. I like the idea of inviting everyone you know who is in the same situation and having a big potluck Thanksgiving.

    • APackageAtTheDoor profile image

      APackageAtTheDoor 5 years ago

      Very helpful, thanks!