Let’s talk turkey: Thinking outside your own kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner

TURKEY OF THE SEA: Local restaurants are offering a wide range of choices — both traditional and nontraditional — for Thanksgiving dinner. Crab cakes will be on the menu at Carmel's. Photo by Pat Barcas

There are plenty of excellent reasons to go out to eat on Thanksgiving. No dirty dishes. No eccentric uncle’s special venison stew. But the best reasons to leave your oven off this Thanksgiving are the holiday offerings from local restaurants. From homey and traditional to upscale and creative, you are sure to find a meal to be thankful for. Here are a just a few ideas:

Pack’s Thanksgiving Buffet

Buffets and Thanksgiving go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. And Pack’s Tavern has put together two buffets to be thankful for. Expect all the classics, including herb-roasted turkey, citrus glazed ham, traditional dressing, red smashed potatoes, collard greens and more.

Thanksgiving Day, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 20 S. Spruce St., $24.99/adults, $12.99/kids younger than 10. Large groups, reservations and walk-ins welcome. packstavern.com

Short Street Cakes’ sixth annual Cakesgiving Cake Sale

Don’t let pies have all the fun this Thanksgiving. Short Street Cakes is making a compelling case for another confection on the dessert table. Choose from the bakery’s top five flavors: Italian cream cake, Strawberry Short Street, fresh apple caramel cake, sweet potato spice cake and gluten-free vegan Mexican chocolate cakes will be on hand every day during Thanksgiving week (excluding Thanksgiving Day), on sale at $29 each. House-made pies will also be available by advance order only.

225 Haywood Road. To order, call 505-4822. shortstreetcakes.com

Buxton Hall Thanksgiving

Buxton Hall, the highly anticipated South Slope barbecue restaurant and latest project of chef Elliot Moss (formerly of MG Road’s Punk Wok and The Admiral) still won’t be opening for another few months. But you can get a taste of what is to come with Buxton Hall Thanksgiving — a holiday takeout option that offers a whole barbecued turkey, Farm and Sparrow cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and more.

All orders must be placed by Sunday, Nov. 23. Pick-up on Thanksgiving day, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., MG Road, 19 Wall St. Cost is $100 and feeds four. Brown butter bourbon pecan pie is available as an add-on for $28. buxtonthanksgiving.splashthat.com

Buffalo Nickel

West Asheville’s newish addition to Haywood Road will present a traditional take on the turkey dinner “with fixin’s and dessert” as well as a vegetarian option with tempeh and vegetarian stuffing.

Thanksgiving Day, noon-8 p.m., 747 Haywood Road, $17/adults, $9/kids for same meal. buffalonickelavl.com


Carmel’s Thanksgiving menu doesn’t sound like something your Aunt Gertrude would put together — but that’s why you’re going out to eat, right? From the traditional slow-roasted turkey breast with sage gravy to the less traditional jumbo lump crab cakes and warm yeast rolls with spiced-orange honey butter, there are a lot of good options here. Not to mention pie.

Thanksgiving Day, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. 1 Page Ave., $19-$26. Reservations encouraged. carmelsofasheville.com

Red Stag Grill at the Bohemian Hotel

There are two ways to feast at the Bohemian Hotel this Thanksgiving, with both lunch and dinner four-course pre-fixe menus at The Red Stag Grill and a family-style meal in the Kessler Ballroom. Sweet potato gnocchi, house-made boar sausage and caramel apple deep dish pie are just a few of the reasons you won’t be missing your own dining room.

Bohemian Hotel, 11 Boston Way. Lunch at the Red Stag Grill runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $55. Dinner, 5-9 p.m., $68. Family meal in the Kessler Ballroom is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $48. Children ages 5-12 are $28. Children younger than 4 eat free. Call 398-5600 for reservations. bohemianhotelasheville.com


No turkeys in sight at Asheville’s all-vegan restaurant, Plant. But you probably won’t be looking for one after four courses of deliciousness featuring items like cream of parsnip soup, handmade tagliatelle and espresso-soaked almond cookies with rum mascarpone. Plus, proceeds from the meal will support Animal Haven of Asheville.

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 5-10 p.m., 165 Merrimon Ave., $45. Call 258-7500 for reservations.

King James Public House

If Thanksgiving has got you hankering for some deviled quail egg and caviar amuse-bouche, butternut squash bisque, seared turkey breast with sage and purple sweet potato pie with brown butter ice cream — well, look no further than King James Public House. They’ve got your sophisticated Thanksgiving palate covered.

Thanksgiving day, 2 p.m.-1 a.m., 94 Charlotte St., $35. Call 252-2412 for reservations.

Daugherty’s American Kitchen & Drink

Daugherty’s, known for its classic menu and stack of “share plates” at every table, is embracing the holiday with style. The restaurant’s Thanksgiving menu features a selection of entrees including turkey, prime rib, pork tenderloin and seared tuna — with all the familiar fixin’s.

Thanksgiving Day, 12-7 p.m., $32.95 includes entree with all sides, dessert and nonalcoholic drinks. 274-7111


Online shopping takes on a new meaning with Dough’s extensive Thanksgiving catering menu. Choose from meats including honey-brined turkey, smoked spiral ham, leg of lamb and more. Sides include creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese, Brussels sprouts with pancetta and French beans with roasted shallots.

Orders must be placed no later than Monday, Nov. 24, and will be available for pick-up until 5 p.m. Nov. 26, or on Thanksgiving Day 9-11 a.m. “Holiday Feast” is $259. “Holiday Meal” is $159. Both serve 10-12. Items can also be ordered a la carte. 575-3831 or doughasheville.com/thanksgiving-2014-1

Luella’s Bar-B-Que

For Thanksgiving, Luella’s is expanding its usual menu offering of smoked turkey breast to include the whole bird. Ready-to-eat take-out meals and a la carte meats, sides and pies are available.

Pick up is available through Wednesday, Nov. 26, or the weekend after Thanksgiving. 606-9024 or luellasbbq.com



Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.