Ditch the kitchen: Heartland restaurants offer Thanksgiving feasts

Thanksgiving catering

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Thanksgiving is one of the biggest cooking days of the year, but more restaurants are staying open on the holiday. Some will even offer family-sized meal boxes to-go.

This year, Denny’s is joining the bandwagon of selling pre-made thanksgiving feasts. Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel, also do the same.

For some, the pre-made meals are an appealing option. Many tell us it is a way to avoid a messy kitchen and to save time and money.

Heartland restaurants are happy to serve up the alternative.

“People want it to be more convenient, " said Jason Barnett, the general manager of Sugarfire Smoke House in Cape Girardeau, MO. “We work a lot, so it’s a lot less stress if somebody else does it for you."

The barbecue restaurant is not open on Thanksgiving, but staff members are still smoking dozens of turkeys and preparing sides for a sold-out list of pick-up orders.

“It’s a big boost for us, but it’s also a big boost knowing that you’re able to take care of people,” Barnett said.

Sandy’s Place at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport is open on Thanksgiving. The owners of the restaurant said it will continue it’s seven year tradition of hosting a buffet with a variety of meats, sides and desserts.

“It will be full," said owner Sandy Ladd. "I’m going to add some tables tonight and add some chairs. This is easy. You come in, sit down and fill your plate. We clear your dishes, you walk out, and you’re done for the day. You have your meal.”

The restaurant does not have family-sized take home meals, but Ladd says they do offer single plates to-go for loved ones with limited mobility.

“There is a big need for it. A lot of restaurants close,” Ladd said. “It’s the elderly people sometimes that don’t have somewhere to go. They come and take it someone who can not get out. It’s a busy day, but it all pulls together and we make a lot of people happy.”

Barnett said Sugarfire’s take home holiday meals sold out quick this year, but is glad they can help make the holiday easier.

“The best part of the restaurant business and the holidays is to make sure you’re putting smiles on other people’s faces,” he said.

Most pre-made Thanksgiving meal option in the Heartland are already fully booked by now, but many of the same stores are offering a similar deal for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

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