A Butterball turkey costs upwards of $25. When you add in the stuffing ($4.50), smoked ham ($15), russet potatoes ($4) and a 24-pack of Miller Lite ($19), your food allowance is all but spent — and that’s about half of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Several Spokane restaurants report an increase in Thanksgiving dining. Area families are redefining what it means to share the holidays together. “Thanksgiving is one of our busiest holidays,” says Matt Jensen, director of marketing for the Davenport Hotel. “We’ll serve over 1,000 meals combined. There’s really a huge untapped local market for holiday dining, so people always appreciate that we’re open.”
And seriously, if traditions are what you make of them, why not ignore the dishes, leftovers and Grandma’s dry turkey?
The restaurant czars at C.I. Shenanigan’s (332 N. Spokane Falls Ct. • open noon-8 pm on Thanksgiving) consider it their civic duty to be open. “Thanksgiving is all about being together and being with your family,” says Rob Lady, general manager at C.I. Shenanigan’s. “Eating here means you don’t have to cook all day, you don’t have to do the dishes and it gives families a good opportunity to focus on each other.”
The restaurant is one of a handful of local places offering Thanksgiving dinner. While most stores and eateries are closed, these select few take on the hard work and chores themselves. You might not get the leftovers, but soggy turkey sandwiches and hardened mashed potatoes are more like hangovers after a glorious night of drinking, anyway.
C.I. Shenanigan’s is keeping its full-service menu tasty but simple. The traditional turkey dinner ($21) boasts green apple stuffing and mashed potatoes. Similar plates include the brown sugar baked ham ($19). Then again, you can always order their signature seafood or beef dishes like the grilled ribeye ($28). “People live hectic lives these days, and if we can take a little stress off their plate, we’re happy to,” Lady says.
Clinkerdagger (621 W. Mallon Ave. • open noon-8 pm) is well known for intimate tables and hearty American dishes that are heavy on the mashed potatoes and meat. The restaurant began opening for Thanksgiving three years ago due to customer demand. “Thanksgiving is the one day you can’t run out of turkey,” says Lynette Baskins, general manager at Clinkerdagger. “Three-fourths of our customers order turkey, and we have lots of it.”
Their turkey dinner ($25) consists of free-range turkey, apple-sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish and turkey gravy. Alternately, you can go with year-round classics like filet mignon Wellington ($35) or salmon ($27). Don’t forget to top things off with a slice of apple tart ($8).
To those who consider Thanksgiving a glutinous holiday, we offer the Golden Corral (7117 N. Division • 11 am-5 pm), a mecca for unlimited turkey, honey-glazed ham, stuffing and mashed potatoes (though they’ll still have the usuals like pizza, ice cream and spaghetti). For $14, adults ($13, seniors and children ages 8-12) can eat themselves into a food coma. Unbutton your pants while you sit — this place is down-home relaxed.
If you’ve got a big enough belt and pocketbook, the Davenport Hotel (10 S. Post St. • open noon-8 pm) will take your buffet lust highbrow. The Davenport has been hosting a Thanksgiving buffet in the Grand Pennington Ballroom ever since its re-opening in 2002. Large ice carvings grace the buffet tables and Christmas decorations are available for viewing. “We keep everything pretty traditional, and people seem to respect that,” Jensen says. “Our guests are a broad spectrum of younger families and empty-nesters who don’t want to cook all day.”
It ain’t cheap: $55 for adults and seniors, and $21 for children ages 6-12, but the open buffet offers a lavish selection of salads, chilled items, hot buffet items, entrees, a carving station and sweets. Start off with a plate of wild rice salad, grilled scallops, roasted brown sugar yams, bourbon glazed ham and a slice of cranberry tart. Plate two will be left up to your imagination.
Also inside the Davenport, the Palm Court’s three-course menu is $42 for adults and seniors, and $21 for children ages 6-12. For starters, you can go with the Dungeness crab bisque garnished with cream and chive oil. The entrees lean toward a gourmet yet traditional feast of oven-roasted turkey breast (or Black Oak ham) with all the fixings — sage and mushroom stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed pearl onions and ginger-cranberry chutney. You can even opt out of tradition with a grilled salmon filet with huckleberry champagne sauce, rice and vegetables. Dessert is as basic as it gets: traditional pumpkin pie or New York Cheesecake.
Across the street, the Safari Room (111 S. Post St. • open noon-8 pm) is a touch less decadent in both ambience and offerings. The three-course menu is $39 for adults and seniors, and $19 for children ages 6-12. Starters include a spinach salad loaded with bacon and tangy, sweet red wine vinaigrette. Options include the standard ham or turkey entrée, or a salt-crusted prime rib with horseradish, mashed potatoes and vegetables.
So yeah, you may miss out on Grandma’s latest racist conspiracy theory, or watching the next movement in Uncle Jim’s slow, inexorable slide from “lovable drunk” to “depressing alcoholic.” But it’s probably worth it for the ability to lounge around all day watching football, then shucking the sweatpants and still getting to tuck in to a fine turkey feast. And hey, if you really miss the holiday traditions of stress and screaming, there’s always Christmas.