Many families are choosing not to gather around the table with loved ones near and far this Thanksgiving, but to help make up for some of what they'll miss, plenty of local restaurants have upped their Turkey Day games.
Some spots known for serving lavish, all-you-can-eat holiday buffets have shifted plans to serve ala carte menus of hearty entrees and seasonal sides both for small dine-in parties and for customers to take home. Households planning to leave the cooking to someone else this year shouldn't wait too long to place orders or make reservations.
At Spokane Valley's Max at Mirabeau, the restaurant inside the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center, the usual all-day Thanksgiving buffet has transitioned to seating parties of six or less (per state regulations) throughout the day.
"In the past, we were famous for our buffet, but with COVID we can't exactly do that anymore," says hotel marketing manager Troy DeLatte. "We're still going to try and create the same kind of theme; a warm, home-away-from-home, just minus the buffet style."
The hotel's Thanksgiving breakfast service starts early, at 6 am, and runs until the dinner menu begins at 11 am, with seatings running to 10 pm. For dinner, DeLatte says guests will be able to choose from six starters (soups and salads) and six entrees — salmon, prawn scampi, peppercorn steak, porterhouse pork chop, prime rib and a traditional turkey dinner — with sides like stuffing and mashed potatoes included. A separate menu is offered for children 12 and under, priced from $13-$20. Sides, starters and the dessert bar are included with each entree, from $47-$55. Autumn-themed cocktails are also available.
DeLatte says so far the restaurant has about 25 percent of its tables for Thanksgiving booked. Parties larger than six are welcome, but will be seated at separate, nearby tables. He expects the same dine-in format for the restaurant's Christmas dinner service.
Families who head to Max at Mirabeau for Thanksgiving this year are in for another special treat. The hotel is hosting the new Northwest Winterfest holiday display, featuring illuminated lanterns in the same style as those seen during the Chinese Lantern Festival in Riverfront Park in 2015 and 2016. DeLatte says the lantern displays will be up in the hotel's main entrance by Thanksgiving Day and on display until Jan. 2.
While North Idaho restaurants are under different and slightly looser restrictions for dine-in service than those in Washington, one of the region's most popular venues for Thanksgiving celebrations, the Coeur d'Alene Resort, has likewise altered its plans to keep everyone safe.
Since the resort opened in 1986, its Dockside restaurant has served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner buffet each year, says Rick Powers, food and beverage director for Hagadone Hospitality.
It won't for the first time in 2020, but that doesn't mean dinner's entirely canceled.
"With so many changes and difficulties for families through the past year, we strived to strike a balance between gourmet delights and the comforts of classic holiday meals," Powers says. "Our chefs were inspired by the intimacy of family dinner without sacrificing the fine dining experience."
Dockside is serving a three-course dinner with five entree options, bookended by a salad course and dessert.
Meanwhile, at Beverly's, an ala carte Thanksgiving menu features classic favorites including roasted turkey, slow-roasted prime rib and ahi tuna, and all the sides to go with. Guests who order the turkey option will also leave with a special leftovers box to enjoy later, Powers says.
While Dockside's annual buffet is on pause, Powers says the resort has still been able to work in a "Grand Buffet" at its conference center, where all food will be served by culinary staff, versus self-serve stations, and with guest tables spaced out for social distancing.
A new option for guests this year is the resort's fully cooked, take-away Thanksgiving dinner. Pre-orders for those meals can be made by phone (800-365-8338), and will be available for pickup the morning of Nov. 26.
"We're serving traditional Thanksgiving comforts, prepared by our award-winning chefs, all to be enjoyed at home so that families can spend more time catching up, watching the game and enjoying each other's company," Powers says. "All they have to do is call ahead, set the table and pick up their feast."
Resort guests are encouraged to make reservations for any on-site dining options, and to pre-order their take-home dinners, as early as possible. Menus and other details for the Coeur d'Alene Resort's Thanksgiving meals are available at cdaresort.com. ♦
MORE THANKSGIVING OPTIONS
TT's Old Iron Brewery & Barbecue
Two pre-order meal packages are available: the Lil' Bit of Thanksgiving serves 4-6 ($75) and Big Ol' Thanksgiving serves 8-10 ($150). Both include smoked, sliced turkey and ham, caramelized yams, green bean casserole and rolls. Four-pack crowlers of the Brewsters Banquet Pilsner ($14) and SoVal Scotch Ale ($16) are also available. Order at ttsbrewerybbq.com.
Take-and-bake Thanksgiving packs are available for pre-order through Nov. 18. Each pack ($100) feeds up to six people and comes with smoked turkey, ham, sides and rolls. Pies can be added for $20 each. Details on Facebook: Outlaw BBQ & Catering Market; call 475-1106.
1898 Public House
On-site Thanksgiving dinner is served from 11 am to 6 pm. Each entree comes with a starter, sides and dessert, served family-style. Choose from a turkey ($45) or prime rib dinner ($60); kids meals (ages 6-12) are $22.50. Some items may be available to go. Reservations and details at kalispelgolf.com.
Shawn O'Donnell's American Grill & Irish Pub
Family meals ($100; feeds 5-6) for pickup are available for pre-orders, along with drinks, cocktail kits and dessert. Dine-in seating starts at 11 am for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner; $23 for adults and $13 for kids. Details at shawnodonnells.com; call 326-7251 for reservations.
The Grain Shed
Pre-orders for baked goods and sides include pies, holiday rolls, bread pudding, bread loaves, stuffing, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce, and the Grain Shed's Purple Egyptian Barley beer. Pre-orders are available for pickup Nov. 24-25. Order at thegrainshed.coop.
Two different family-size feast packages are offered at $85 and $155, along with smoked meats whole or by the pound, including turkey, brisket, pulled pork, house-made German sausage and ribs. Sides and desserts are also available ala carte. Full menu at facebook.com/smokeridgebarbecue; call 710-3426.