Food & Chefs: DON'T Cook This Thanksgiving! 2018

Published by: David Danzig on Thursday November 8th, 2018

David Danzig

It’s that time of year where I make my huge pitch for people NOT to cook!

Don't get me wrong--I love the Thanksgiving meal as much as anyone.  It's a joyous union of about 8 of my favorite comfort foods all at the same table.  Turkey, stuffing--all of it comes together in one of the most delicious and nostalgic flavor profiles of the year.  As an incurable pragmatist, here's what I cannot get over:  the disproportionate time and energy go into cooking versus the time it takes to eat the meal. Think about the head chef of your home operation.  The hours and hours they slave away--usually over a multi-day span--preparing dish after dish after dish.  Yes, this yields an amazing feast but seriously, how long does the meal, itself, actually last?  30 minutes?  An hour? Then, poof, it's all over until next year!  And then cleanup comes next and that's a good couple of hours alone!  So figure 8-10 hours of work to an hour of pleasure.  Come on, that work-to-enjoyment ratio is too out of whack!

Well, this year I say keep the food tradition but break tradition with all the work and hassle and check out some of these great options to either bring home the meal ready to eat or dine in someone else's kitchen.  Make plans now and take a load off your mind and enjoy the holiday in style!  Below I have a long list of places to dine out—this link to Open Table is a perfect place to see if most of these are available for seating!  Also below you will find where to have world-class chefs prepare your bounty to bring home and look like a genius. 


Celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones at Davio's Atlanta. On Thursday, November 22nd from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, guests are invited to enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day menu prepared by Executive Chef Matthew Rosekrans Guests will enjoy items such as Oven-Roasted Vermont Free-Range Organic Turkey, Brussels Sprouts, Yukon Gold Creamy Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese, and Herb Bread Stuffing. We all know Thanksgiving isn’t complete without an All-American dessert. This year’s options include Apple Pie, Vanilla Bean Gelato and Gluten Free Hazelnut Chocolate Tart.  The Davio's Thanksgiving dinner menu is $65 per adult and $23 per child (12 years & under) regular dinner menu also available. Special Holiday Desserts are available for $12 each (excluding tax and gratuity.) Reservations are necessary for this event and can be made by calling 404.844.4810. 

This Thanksgiving, skip cooking all-day and the messy cleanup because Atlas is doing all the work.  Open Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018, the award-winning restaurant located in the St. Regis Atlanta will have a special three-course prix fixe dinner created by Executive Chef Christopher Grossman for $75 per person.  The full dinner menu that changes daily and is driven by partnerships with a collection of more than a dozen local farms will also be available.  Atlas is located within the St. Regis Atlanta at 88 West Paces Ferry Road NW Atlanta, GA 30305.  For more information about Atlas or to make a reservation, visit  

5Church Atlanta offers a special three-course prix fixe menu in place of the regular à la carte menu starting at 11 a.m., with a last seating at 7 p.m. Appetizers like saffron potato leek soup, Maryland crab cakes, and duck confit aim to please, while entrée options allow for traditional fried or baked turkey breast as well as shrimp and grits, braised short ribs and cracklin’ pork belly. Price is $50 per adult and $20 for children 12 and under, with a $20 optional wine pairing available. 404-400-3669;

Leave the meal planning to the professionals at Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar in Virginia-Highland this year. The city’s oldest continuously licensed tavern is serving a Thanksgiving feast that includes smoked turkey breast, braised pork shoulder, green bean casserole, roasted apple and sage dressing, sweet potato biscuits, pumpkin cheesecake and more. Price is $30 for adults, $20 for young adults and $10 for kids under 10. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.; reservations are strongly recommended. 404-876-7249;

Give Thanks exquisitely at the St. Regis Atlanta with their Thanksgiving Brunch in the Ballroom Served from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.  Adults $149, Children 4 –7 years $52, Children 8-12 years $75 and Children 3 and under Complimentary.  See offerings here.  

The Brookhaven (404-464-8971) location of HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern offers a respite from cooking and cleaning with a traditional Thanksgiving buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. for $39 per person. The festive menu features a soup and salad selection, honey glazed ham, slow-roasted turkey breast, roasted Atlantic salmon, HOBNOB’s famous mac and cheese, sweet potato soufflé, fire-roasted cauliflower and more. Be sure to save room for the dessert station! The original Midtown location (404-968-2288) is open and serving a limited selection from the restaurant’s regular menu all day.

Ormsby’s is serving up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Guests can enjoy classics like slow roasted turkey with roasted garlic and rosemary gravy, honey bourbon-glazed ham, mushroom sage cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle and more. $28 per adult, $18 for young adults, $10 for children 10 and under. Stay after for some post-Thanksgiving games like bocce, darts, pool, shuffleboard and more. Call 404-968-2033 for reservations.

Begin the day with a festive brunch buffet in Midtown at Livingston or in The Georgian Terrace’s Grand Ballroom on Thanksgiving Day featuring a chef’s carving station with bacon-basted turkey and slow- roasted prime rib, blackened halibut, traditional green bean casserole, poached shrimp, chilled asparagus, an assortment of desserts and much more from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Price (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity) is $50 for adults, $25 for children 12 and under and complimentary for children 3 and under. 866-845-7551;

Round up family and friends and head to Milton’s for a Thanksgiving feast to remember. The historic Crabapple restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For $45 per person (plus tax and gratuity), dig into executive chef Derek Dollar’s three-course prix fixe menu of traditional favorites such as butternut squash bisque, applewood smoked turkey breast, spiral cut ham and bourbon pecan pie. 770-817-0161;

Thanksgiving at Ray’s Restaurants is an Atlanta tradition thanks to the legendary buffet offerings. At Ray’s on the River, take in stunning views of the Chattahoochee while savoring a fresh seafood bar, a large selection of breads and salads, roasted turkey with thyme gravy, blackened salmon and hickory smoked Cheshire Pork ribs among many other dishes for $55 per adult and $27.50 per child (ages 5-10). In Alpharetta, Ray’s at Killer Creek blends enticing starters such as pimento cheese fritters and creamy smoked salmon mousse with brunch favorites like crispy chicken with buttermilk waffles and eggs Benedict. A fresh seafood bar, Cajun-fried turkey and slow-roasted prime rib round out the offerings for $55 per adult and $27.50 per child. For more traditional Thanksgiving features, a deluxe carving station and made-to-order omelets and waffles ($50 per adult and $25 per child), head downtown to Ray’s in the City. All three restaurants are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Full menus available on

Over the years, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta has become a holiday destination for locals and travelers alike.  The tradition continues this year with better-than-ever holiday options.  All holiday reservations can be made by calling (404) 881-9898.  Thanksgiving Brunch November 22, 2018 $110 for Adults, $60 Ages 6-12, Under 5 are complimentary Seatings are between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Looking to treat the family to a day on the town this Turkey Day? Then it’s time to eat, drink and be thankful at STK Atlanta, because if spoiling the family with an unforgettable dinner is on the agenda this Thanksgiving, November 22nd, STK is going above and beyond.  Located in the heart of Midtown, the modern steakhouse is offering it’s full menu and special holiday offerings created by Executive Chef Thomas Mikesell including Lobster Butternut Squash —Spiced Pumpkin Seeds, Maine Lobster; Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Confit Turkey Legs — Chestnut Stuffing; Orange Cranberry Chutney; Sweet Potato Purée with hints of vanilla and maple; Creamy Yukon Mashed Potatoes; French green beans; and just for the occasion, guests can savor the sweetness of the season with a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake served with Gingersnap Crumble and Cranberry Compote.  STK Atlanta will be open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. For more information, visit or call 404-793-0144.  

If your family prefers the sit-down style feast without ever turning on the oven, head to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, recently opened in Dunwoody, for a traditional Thanksgiving Day prix-fixe menu. Executive chef Matt Townley will feature favorites like slow-roasted turkey breast with all the trimmings and seasonal desserts such as pumpkin cheesecake. Guests can also choose other Del Frisco’s favorites like dry-aged steak or the wagyu tasting. The full menu can be viewed here and will be available for $49 per person (++) from noon to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. For more information and to make a reservation, please call 770.274.0309.

Let Oak Steakhouse do this cooking! This Thanksgiving Day, huddle the family at the Avalon favorite for a $49 three-course traditional feast curated by executive chef Stuart Rogers, available from 12-5 p.m. Regular dinner menu will also be available. To make a reservation, call 678.722.8333 or book via Opentable – tables are going quickly!

Celebrate Thanksgiving southern-style with Southern Art’s Thanksgiving brunch buffet! For the special day of thanks, Southern Art will roll out a one-of-a-kind menu, serving guests a true southern feast. The buffet will feature traditional Thanksgiving dishes, including an assortment of breads and pastries; artisanal ham and cheese stations from the restaurant’s innovative ham bar; Thanksgiving carving stations; traditional sides and more. The Thanksgiving buffet is $95 per adult, $45 for children 5-10 and children under five are complimentary.

Step away from the stove and enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family at South City Kitchen Vinings this year! Executive chef Jack McGinn will be serving up a three-course, prix fixe menu for just $55 per person ($27.50 for children 12 and under) from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Dig into South City Kitchen signatures like the Springer Mountain Farms fried chicken or opt for seasonal favorites like the roast turkey breast with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, garlic collards, mashed potatoes, and orange-cranberry relish – either way, you can’t go wrong! To make a reservation, visit the restaurant online or call (770) 435-0700.

Treat your loved ones to a stellar southern supper without the cleanup at South City Kitchen Buckhead this year. Executive chef Simon Young will prepare a three-course, prix fixe menu for $55 per person ($27.50 for children 12 and under) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with highlights including the autumn salad with roasted winter squash, dried cranberries, benne seed vinaigrette, and pecorino romano; cider-brined pork chop with hazelnut tabouleh, wilted mustard greens, habanero-peach mustard; and a pumpkin trifle with pumpkin cake, salted caramel cheese whip and gingerbread-white chocolate décor. To make a reservation, visit the restaurant online or call (404) 815-6677.

Mozy on over to South City Kitchen Midtown this Thanksgiving, where for just $55 per person ($27.50 for children 12 and under), executive chef John Spotkill will serve a three-course Thanksgiving feast from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Traditionalists will love the signature roast turkey breast with all the fixins and South City Kitchen’s signature Springer Mountain Farms fried chicken, while others will take a walk on the wild side with selections like the duck confit with barbecue lentils, bok choy and red grape agrodolce. No matter which direction you choose, all will agree that you must end the meal with one of executive pastry chef Eric Wolitzky’s famous confections.

Hampton + Hudson will be open on Thanksgiving Day beginning at 6pm. They're offering a limited snacks menu alongside their beverage menu and a $5 Beer + Shot Special (a seasonal beer and Parker's Heritage Reserve Bourbon shot). 

Thanksgiving to Go!

If you dread the cooking & clean-up of the holiday season, Star Provisions Market & Café once again has you covered with “Thanksgiving to-go & all the fixins!” Call 404-365-0410, ext. 4, to order pastured whole turkey, pastured bone-in turkey breast or pastured Heritage Black turkey (plus optional brining) & all the fixins: a selection of sides & traditional holiday fare (think gravy, cranberry-orange relish, sage and apple dressing, sweet potato puree with mini marshmallows, buttered rutabaga & more). Orders can be taken until Sunday, November 18, by 5 p.m., and will be available for pick-up on Wednesday, November 21. For the full menu details & pricing, please visit

Put a Southern twist on Thanksgiving this year with Tupelo Honey’s family style to-to menu. Select the perfect menu for your gathering with Tupelo Honey’s “family of four deal” offering a choice of protein and family-style sides for $40. Place your order online, today!

Linton Hopkins' C. Ellet's at the Battery says leave the sweets to us this year and spend your time with loved ones around the dinner table. Order a classic pie or cake created by executive pastry chef, Jen Yee.  Order a world class key lime pie, sweet potato pie, chocolate bourbon pecan pie, spiced toffee apple ring and more.  Order ahead here.

Sweet Auburn BBQ is offering holiday catering packages as well as whole smoked turkeys to go. The deadline to place orders is this Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2pm. For more details, please see here.

This Thanksgiving, take the comforting tastes of Wahoo! Grill home for the holidays with the Decatur restaurant’s delicious Thanksgiving to-go offering, created by executive chef Scot Davis. A portion of each meal sold will be donated to The Giving Kitchen, and includes three mouthwatering courses feeding six to eight people total. Thanksgiving to-go is available for $129 + tax, and orders must be placed by Thursday, November 15.

For hosts whose Thanksgiving guest list just keeps getting longer, 4 Rivers Smokehouse knows how to feed a crowd. From smoked turkey and brisket to àla carte sides and fixins’ packages to sweet shop cakes, the Westside restaurant offers a complete Thanksgiving Day feast. Simply reheat, sit back and collect the compliments. Order online by Nov. 17 for pick up on Nov. 21. 844-474-8377;

Gobble up something sweet from South Main Kitchen this Thanksgiving! Made fresh to order by the restaurant's pastry chef, their coveted holiday cakes are available for pre-orders and come in two varieties: Coconut Doberge, a vanilla bean cake with coconut German buttercream and flaked coconut and Double Dark Chocolate, a dark chocolate cake made with bittersweet chocolate frosting and Maldon salt flakes. Both holiday cakes can be pre-ordered at the restaurant or by calling (678) 691-4622 with pick-up through next Wednesday, Nov. 21. 

Henri’s Bakery & Café has a cornucopia of sweet and savory ways to make Thanksgiving a breeze. Let the beloved bakery with three Atlanta-area locations prepare the giblet gravy, cornbread stuffing, macaroni and cheese, Parker House rolls and dessert (pumpkin, pecan, fruit and chess pies) – just add turkey! Place an order by Nov. 20 for pick up by end of the day on Nov. 21. Gingerbread kits are also available starting at $39.99 (unassembled) to $64.99 (assembled and decorated).

Let Alon’s Bakery & Market handle the cooking with Thanksgiving! Alon’s offers a specialty menu that includes a selection of appetizers, whole turkeys, desserts and all the fixin’s for guests to pick-up and enjoy. Signature seasonal favorites include Alon’s holiday cheese board, butternut squash with hazelnut and sage, candied sweet potato souffle, cornbread chestnut dressing, selection of artisan bread and seasonal pies. All Thanksgiving orders must be placed by Monday, November 19, at 5 p.m. Alon’s will be open on Wednesday, November 21, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on Thanksgiving Day. New this holiday season, all guests who spend $100 will receive a $20 gift card, from now through December 14.

Holiday Baked Goods Pre-Ordering (Through Nov. 19)  Root Baking Co. at Ponce City Market has your Thanksgiving carbs covered! The newly opened shop is now offering pre-orders for the holidays both online and in person at their store on the second floor of the Central Food Hall. Selections include Heirloom Apple Pie (made with apple-ginger filling and stone-milled flour crust), Chocolate Pecan Pie, multigrain and sourdough breads, biscotti, lemon and chocolate shortbread cookies and more. All Thanksgiving orders must be placed by Monday, Nov. 19.

Let chef Mel Toledo handle the cooking this year and delight your loved ones with a Thanksgiving spread courtesy of Foundation Social Eatery. Enjoy FSE’s signature cider-brined turkey, roasted fingerling potatoes, FSE bread stuffing, roasted brussels sprouts with sherry-bacon vinaigrette, gravy and cranberry sauce at your own table this Thanksgiving with the Roswell mainstay’s annual Thanksgiving To-Go special. The full meal will be $130 for four servings and $260 for eight. For some extra fun, be sure to add an FSE loaf for only $9 or a fall spiced cake for $25. To order, please call 770-641-8877.

To-Go Turkeys & All the Fixin's (Through Nov. 18)  Sweet Auburn's holiday packages include options of whole smoked turkeys (12-14 lbs.) or sliced turkey paired with sides, such as mac and cheese, Asian slaw, bourbon beans, sweet potato souffle and more. Thanksgiving Day orders must be placed no later than Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. Please see here for order details.

King Barbecue is the king of convenience when it comes to Turkey Day. For a feast that doesn’t require lifting a finger, take advantage of the Avalon restaurant’s Thanksgiving Family Meal. Prepared fresh and ready to serve, this to-go package feeds 12 to 14 people and includes cider-brined smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, baked mac and cheese, stewed green beans or collard greens, turkey gravy and cranberry marmalade for $250. Orders may be placed by calling the restaurant or emailing [email protected]. Pick up at the restaurant between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day - no need to reheat! 678-248-5159;

Take home a 12-to-14-pound apple-brined and smoked Thanksgiving turkey from Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails executive chef Derek Dollar. The $85 feast comfortably feeds six to eight guests and includes one quart each of Madeira gravy and sage-corn spoon bread. Additional sides such as cheddar grits, Kentuckyaki Brussels sprouts, and smoked gouda mac and cheese can be purchased for $18/quart. Place orders online and pick up at Milton’s on Nov. 20 and 21 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 770-817-0161;

For 25 years, Murphy’s has offered a four-course Thanksgiving meal to go, allowing hosts to enjoy the day with their loved ones instead of spending it in the kitchen. Don’t fret over dietary restrictions –  the beloved Virginia-Highland restaurant can accommodate these upon request and also offers a non-turkey option, along with wine and extras for an additional cost. The $155 meal serves four, comes with easy instructions to serve at home and is available for pick up at Murphy’s on Nov. 21. Quantities are limited, so guests are encouraged to order online. 404-872-0904;

Fresh pastured bird is the word thanks to White Oak Pastures. The Bluffton, Georgia, farm’s pasture-raised poultry are not only tender and full of flavor but are also part of a multi-species, holistic grazing program and never receive antibiotics, artificial growth hormones or steroids. Reserve a small (8-12 pound), medium (12.1-16 pound) or large (16+ pound) bird online today, and the farm will ship them out the week of Nov 12. Home cooks can feel great about serving a turkey that’s Certified Non-GMO, Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved and processed in a zero-waste processing abattoir located on the farm. 229-641-2081;

Over the years, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta has become a holiday destination for locals and travelers alike.  The tradition continues this year with better-than-ever holiday options.  Looking for a home-cooked holiday meal without the hassle of preparing it? Executive Chef Michael Patria offers the convenient “Turkey To Go” for your Thanksgiving gathering. Dinner includes a baked turkey and all the fixings.  $325 all-inclusive, serves 8 people.  Deadline to order is Thursday, November 15th.  Pick-up is Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22nd.

Capturing the essence of Thanksgiving, the Brasserie and Neighborhood Café at PARISH in bustling Inman Park is combining fresh, seasonal ingredients and creating delicious menu items for guests to enjoy this upcoming holiday with their Thanksgiving To-Go offerings. Feeding four to six people, PARISH is offering both a la carte and bundle options just for the occasion.  Call 404.681.4434 by Monday, November 19th by 2 p.m. to place an order. All orders must be picked up by Wednesday, November 21st after 10 a.m. PARISH will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018.