Switch up Thanksgiving Norms by Supporting Local Restaurants

Written by Chef Colin Burslem, Culinary Director for Joseph Richard Group and Meal Ticket Brands

Thanksgiving is a special time of year and one that most of us look forward to all year long. It comes with warm, inviting, visions of candlelight and fireplaces, the laughter and stories from friends and family, but the part most of us hold nearest and dearest to our hearts… The feast!

If the thought of cooking a large dinner from scratch is holding you back from putting on the Thanksgiving dinner of your dreams, don’t let it! This year, you can make the thoughtful choice to celebrate Thanksgiving by ordering from a local restaurant and spending that much more time with your friends and family without all the stress. This can be a great opportunity to start a new tradition in your household by trying a new ethnic cuisine you’ve been intrigued by or checking out that new spot that’s on your list.

Here are some things to keep in mind when ordering this Thanksgiving season:

1. Find an offering that will provide you with something that is as close to homemade as possible

If you’re going for the authentic, Thanksgiving experience, look for restaurants that will prepare dishes as similarly to homemade as possible. Even though it may not have been prepared in your own kitchen, it can still have all the comforts of a simple yet delicious homemade dish.

2. Splurge on a meal that you typically wouldn’t

Do you know how much it costs to put on a huge, traditional Thanksgiving meal? If you’re opting for take-out or dining in at a local restaurant, take the opportunity to spoil yourself with a meal you typically ‘save’ for special occasions (that are somehow never special enough). Order and savour that delicious meal!

3. Try food from a local business that is in your community supporting the workers that are preparing your food

When you support a local business, you’re supporting your community. The chefs and restaurant staff are working to provide you with a great meal while forfeiting spending this time with their own families or friends. It can feel really good to know your dollar is going directly into your community member’s pockets.

4. Be thankful that you can have a take-out meal on Thanksgiving (I remember when this was a foreign concept)

It is truly amazing that we now have our pick of restaurants to dine in at or take out from on holidays like Thanksgiving. As I touched on in my last point, just remember that the great people allowing you to enjoy a delicious meal at their restaurant probably have family members at home enjoying a Thanksgiving meal without them. Be extra courteous and generous; let them know that they’re appreciated!

5. Complete turkey dinners are not easy to find, so if you can find one, order immediately!

If you’re looking for that traditional, complete turkey dinner, make sure to order well ahead of time if you come across one. At times, the businesses offering these types of complete dinners have a very limited amount that tends to go quickly. Save yourself last-minute stress (and likely disappointment) by getting this done ASAP.

6. Find unique offerings only available on Thanksgiving

Take this opportunity to explore one-of-a-kind meal offerings in your area! If it’s something they only serve at Thanksgiving and it sounds up your alley, I encourage you to go ahead and give it a try, because who knows if you’ll get the chance to do so again!

7. Be generous

Be generous where you can while enjoying your Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant or opting for take-out. This gesture can make a significant difference to the staff who have worked diligently to make your Thanksgiving memorable.

8. Try a different ethnic cuisine for Thanksgiving. Be adventurous!

Why not switch things up this year by trying a different ethnic cuisine for Thanksgiving? Be adventurous in your food choices and explore flavours from around the world. It can be a delightful departure from traditional Thanksgiving staples, and could potentially start a fun tradition for years to come.

9. Instead of using a delivery platform, pick up from the restaurant so you can tip directly to the business and staff preparing your food

To support your local restaurants best, try to pick up your food instead of opting for delivery whenever possible. Using apps or third-party websites to order delivery ends up costing you more money with less going to the local business. If you’re able to make the trip to pick up your meal, take the opportunity to personally deliver your gratuity to the employee and let them know they’re appreciated for working on this holiday!

10. Don’t forget dessert!

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to order dessert! Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a sweet finish to your meal. Many local bakeries and dessert shops offer delectable treats that can round out your celebration perfectly.

Celebrating Thanksgiving with a feast from a local business offers convenience, delicious flavours, and a chance to support your community. Whether you stick to tradition or venture into new culinary territories, this modern twist on Thanksgiving can create cherished memories and a truly enjoyable holiday experience. So, this Thanksgiving, consider giving yourself a break from the kitchen and embracing the wonderful cuisine you have just outside your front door.