Food & Nutrition

15 Chain Restaurants That Will Be Open on Thanksgiving

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If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner, you know it’s a lot of work. Not only does the prep and cooking feel like an exhausting three-ring circus, but then there’s the clean-up with which to contend. The benefits are clear—precious moments with family and friends, time-honored traditions, delicious food, and incredible leftovers. But, guess what? You can have all of this without the hustle by taking advantage of one of the many chain restaurants open for Thanksgiving in 2018.

When you’re feeling the urge to hang up your apron, maybe just this once, give one of these institutions a try for a warm plate and great company without the fuss. Check with your nearest location of any given restaurant to make sure they are indeed participating.

Applebee’s Grill & Bar

Casual and kid-friendly, select Applebee’s locations will offer their take on traditional Thanksgiving grub. According to Good Housekeeping, that means turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and garlicky green beans. Just as you might at home, wear your stretchy pants.

Golden Corral

As one of the restaurants open for Thanksgiving every year, Golden Corral advertises their Thanksgiving Day Buffet, and it looks like a not-to-be-missed feast. You’ve got all of the trimmings and absolutely no reason not to go back for seconds. Perfect for the brood with a hearty appetite. Before you go, brush up on these tips on how to navigate a buffet like a boss.


Brace yourselves—Denny’s has already unveiled their “Festive Flavors” menu for the 2018 holiday season and your mouth is about to start watering. According to Chew Boom, they’re offering up a Cinnamon Roll Pancake Breakfast, Holiday Turkey Melt, Turkey & Dressing Dinner, and a Pumpkin Pie Milkshake. If you’d prefer to pick up your meal to go on Thanksgiving, some locations will offer the Turkey & Dressing Dinner Pack, which is enough to serve a party of four (and they’ll throw in the serving items required to present these goodies at your table). For this you’ll have to go online and order through Denny’s on Demand.

Marie Callender’s

With their year-round assortment of incredible pies, it only makes sense that Marie Callender’s is one of the restaurants open for Thanksgiving. Groups can either dine in at their nearest participating location or grab a feast to go, with five different menu options to choose from. If you decide to go the takeout route, keep in mind that each feast requires three hours of reheating time before it’s ready to hit the Thanksgiving table. Check out these 20 most-asked Thanksgiving questions, answered.

T.G.I. Friday’s

It’s unclear whether or not T.G.I. Friday’s serves up what one might consider a classic Thanksgiving meal on Turkey Day, but many locations do stay open on the holiday. And, hey, who wouldn’t mind making those rectangular mozzarella sticks a new Thanksgiving tradition? We’re in.

Boston Market

Every day can feel like Thanksgiving at Boston Market, with its comforting menu of dishes reminiscent of the food-fueled holiday. With the option to either dine in or carry out, the chain has a fabulous array of heat-and-serve options and à la carte items to make this year’s dinner a breeze (and delicious, too). Ordering is open now, so feel free to peruse the goods. Need a laugh? You’ll love these hilarious Thanksgiving help-line calls.


At first glance Hooters might feel like an odd choice for restaurants open for Thanksgiving, but if your crew is all about football, then this option is the place to be. Take in all of the big games while dining on the chain’s infamous wings. Football is about as synonymous with this holiday as the dinner itself, so there’s still some tradition to be had here.

Maggiano’s Little Italy

Thanksgiving at an Italian restaurant? Oh, yes. Maggiano’s presents family-style dinner offerings with all of the holiday classics you could possibly desire, like traditional roast turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, and more. Of course, there are still plenty of pastas to choose from and they do add an Italian twist to their dressing with a focaccia sausage stuffing. The whole experience is divine.

Cracker Barrel

According to their website, Cracker Barrel is open for regular business hours on Thanksgiving, and they begin serving their traditional meal at 11 a.m. For those with a location near them, it’s one of the best deals in town, with the adult meal costing just $ 12.99 and the kids’ meals ringing in at $ 7.99 each. This will get you their turkey n’ dressing, gravy, a sampling of sugar-cured ham, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins, a slice of pumpkin pie, and a beverage (if you’re dining in). Where do we sign up? By the way, pumpkin isn’t actually America’s favorite Thanksgiving pie. Can you guess what is?

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

What does a steakhouse know about turkey? In this case, a lot. Their three-course Thanksgiving feast serves up a soup or salad starter, over-roasted turkey with sausage and herb stuffing, and three popular side dishes. End the meal with a dessert duo. If you’d rather dine on one of the dishes Ruth’s Chris is famous for every other day of the year, their full dinner menu is also available. Read these funny Thanksgiving quotes to lighten up this year’s family meal.

Bahama Breeze

If you’d like to pretend you’re soaking up the salty ocean air this Thanksgiving, Country Living reports that many Bahama Breeze locations are serving guests this holiday. With an island-infused Thanksgiving menu, it’s like a vacation for your taste buds and away from holiday stress.

Buca di Beppo

With doors opening at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Buca di Beppo is another Italian restaurant open for Thanksgiving 2018. The chain is already taking reservations and online orders on their website and will feature a classic menu, featuring sliced white meat turkey, home-style gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spicy Italian sausage stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. For to-go orders, Buca di Beppo has two options—small (which feeds three people) and large (feeds five). No matter where you’re eating, you might want to avoid these conversation topics to steer clear of at Thanksgiving dinner.

The Capital Grille

Options abound at The Capital Grille on Thanksgiving Day. The restaurant will offer a classic turkey dinner and have their full menu available à la carte. Special Thanksgiving items include slow-roasted turkey with brioche stuffing, french green beans with marcona almonds and cranberry pear chutney, and a portion of mashed potatoes big enough for sharing. Stick around for dessert because the pumpkin cheesecake sounds divine. Reservations recommended.

Waffle House

When you crave the comforts of something very familiar, Waffle House is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. So, yes, that also means Thanksgiving. No word on whether they will offer anything turkey-specific this holiday, but you can expect their regular full menu of all-American diner fare.

Old Country Buffet

If buffet dining is your style, then you’ll be thrilled to know this Shangri-la of all-you-can-eat scrumptiousness is open for Thanksgiving. According to The Daily Meal, Old Country Buffet has whole Southern pecan or classic pumpkin pies for sale for the low, low price of just $ 8.99, which you can purchase to go if you prefer to do dessert back at the homestead. In case you overdo it, here’s how to recover from a Thanksgiving eating binge.

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