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
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
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