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Local restaurants offer an alternative to cooking Thanksgiving dinner

Published: Nov. 22, 2020 at 9:27 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - We’re just a few days away from Thanksgiving, although for many, this year’s holiday will likely look a lot different than years past.

With travel restrictions and state guidelines on group settings, many folks won’t be spending the holiday with family this year.

That might leave dinner plans up in the air -- and why cook a turkey for yourself, if someone else can do it for you?

As our Elissa Borden found out this week, that’s exactly what plenty of people are doing.

The Lighthouse in Colchester is one of the very few restaurants in the area open on Thanksgiving.

“People, you know, have nowhere to go, or wherever we will make it work. We’re just trying to make sure someone has somewhat of a normal holiday,” said front of the house manager Jonnaca Place.

While they’re accepting reservations for Thursday, most of their turkey day phone calls have been to-go orders.

“As of right now, it’s growing every day, which is great. But I definitely think that we’re going to see more of the take out than in house dining obviously this year,” Place said.

With large parties unable to gather like in past years and restrictions on households intermingling, Thanksgiving takeout orders have been popular as people prepare to spend the day alone.

In fact, some are sold out.

“Due to the current times, we want to just make sure that everybody is safe, so we pivoted a little bit and made the Thanksgiving to-go and still wanted to give that culinary offering to the locals,” said Keith McManis of The Essex Resort.

In years past, the Essex Resort has offered a buffet, fit to serve nearly 500. While that’s not possible this year, they did offer a Thanksgiving to-go. Now sold out, diners can visit their restaurants in person the day of and request take out normally.

“They don’t want to worry about going to the grocery store, picking up the turkey, picking up the yams, sweet potatoes, all that type of stuff. They just want to pick it up in one sweep place, bring it home, warm it up real quick whenever they’re about to get ready for dinner, and don’t have to worry about anything,” said McManis.

Just down the road at Jules on the Green, owner Silvio Mazzella offers a similar thought process.

“I just think it’s a little bit of, I need some downtime for myself, not have to worry about the stress of putting a full meal together. I think part of it is they’re trying to support a lot of our local establishments, not only just Jules on the Green but other great restaurants in the area. And I think it’s allowing them to take one more thing off their mind this year,” said Mazella.

Jules, best known for catering to dietary restrictions, is closed on Thanksgiving but is offering takeout, including single meals. Orders can be picked up until Wednesday.

So while there may not be a big feast at grandma’s house, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy Thanksgiving comfort food, even if you’re alone.

“We’re delivering to some of those that are in need that aren’t able to get out. And we’re able to try to give as many families some normalcy as we possibly can,” he said.

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