Want to eat Thanksgiving dinner in public to mitigate the chances of a tense family gathering erupting into an out-and-out brawl? Or just don't want to cook? Either reason is a valid one for ditching the tradition of frantically trying to defrost a turkey at midnight while rooting around in a bird's...ahem, cavity...for a neck and bag of giblets. Here are a selection of restaurants ready to welcome you with open arms (and, more important, food and drink) on Thursday, November 22. Make your reservations soon and have a happy, stress-free Thanksgiving!
The Corner Office + Martini Bar
1401 Curtis Street
Looking for the same experience you have when you eat a big meal at home (i.e., the chance to go back for seconds...and thirds...and fourths)? This Turkey Day buffet will have all your favorites — turkey and ham, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy — plus extras like cherry and apple cobbler and pumpkin cheesecake, all for just $45 per person or $14.95 for kids under twelve, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Reservations are available at the Corner Office website.
1442 Larimer Street
From noon to 9 p.m., the Larimer Square wine bar is luring in diners with pumpkin mascarpone ravioli, duck confit with wild mushrooms and polenta, filet mignon with truffle potato gratin, and seared scallops with apple butter and squash risotto...and, oh, yeah, some poultry dish. The $42 price tag includes a pour of hard cider, with plenty of other wine to add to the meal; reserve your table at Crú's website.
Death & Co.
1280 25th Street
Stuff your face early — or late — at Death & Co., which will be serving its three-course, $50 prix fixe menu from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Befitting its swanky location, the menu is a little luxe, with apples and endive marmalade, turkey with potato-parsnip purée in place of traditional mashers, brioche bread pudding, pumpkin tart with maple-pecan syrup and more. Call to reserve your table.
249 Columbine Street
Departure's Thanksgiving menu is off the rails entirely — okay, not entirely. There's still turkey on the menu, but it's prepared with Chinese five-spice, and the rest of the prix fixe menu relies on the heavily Asian-inspired fare that's the restaurant's bread and butter. Except there's no bread and butter, either. There's Thai sausage cornbread, though, as well as Chinese short ribs, ginger and chili sweet potatoes, and chicken and galangal soup. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Call to reserve your dinner for $65 ($90 with wine and sake pairings).
The Fort Restaurant
19192 Highway 8, Morrison
The Fort is so traditional it's historic, and its Thanksgiving dinner service is no exception. Starting at 11 a.m., turkey dinner with sausage and apple stuffing, maple-roasted yams and brandy-pumpkin pie will be served, along with a limited regular menu if you can't go even one day without a primal cut of red meat. Dinner will run you $45 and the little ones $29; call for reservations.
Hearth & Dram
1801 Wewatta Street
A Thanksgiving buffet has never been so tempting: Starting at 5 p.m., guests get a welcome cocktail in the gorgeous dining room, and at 7 p.m. the spread (including turkey, mac and cheese, stuffing, greens and cranberry sauce) goes live. Reservations for the dinner, $55, must be made no later than Tuesday, November 20, on Open Table.
2345 West 112th Avenue, Westminster
This locally owned and operated steakhouse is opening its doors from noon until 8 p.m. to offer a three-course turkey or prime-rib dinner to diners in the northern suburbs — or anyone who wants a quality dinner without having to jockey for parking (the expansive space and parking lot proves there are some advantages to locations outside downtown Denver). The prix fixe menu costs $59.95, or order from the regular menu if fowl isn't fair to you. Reserve your seat by phone.
Hilton Denver Inverness
200 Inverness Drive West, Englewood
For sheer impressiveness, nothing — nothing — can beat a hotel brunch buffet. Thanksgiving is no exception, as the oysters and shrimp will be piled high from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It may take you the full six hours to work your way through the antipasto, salads, seafood, bacon and sausage, waffle bar, omelet station, duck breast, sea bass, prime rib, brisket, turkey and nearly twenty desserts. Visit the Hilton's website for the epic menu, which will run you $61.95 (or $71.95 with bottomless mimosas).
1890 Wazee Street
Staying true to its Southwestern roots, Kachina's Turkey Day menu (served from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for $24) includes all your favorites with a spicy and savory twist: roasted turkey marinated in achiote, green chile mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, Mexican corn salad and Mexican chocolate pecan pie. And if even that's too traditional for your palate, try the taco plate (for $15) — because every day is a good day for tacos.
1039 Pearl Street, Boulder
As a self-proclaimed community restaurant, the Kitchen knows how to read a room. And what do the people want on Turkey Day? Turkey, of course. A very traditional holiday menu will be available from noon to 8 p.m. for $55 ($22 for children under thirteen), which includes both white and dark meat (so you can fight over the drumstick just as you would in your own dining room) along with family-style sides. Find the complete menu at thekitchenbistros.com, where you can also make the required reservation.
1100 14th Street
One of our favorite hotel restaurants in Denver is pulling out all the stops for visitors (and locals) with its three-course menu that runs $79 per person and $25 per child. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the kitchen will be turning out smoked turkey, honey-glazed ham (not to be confused with the far inferior honey-baked version your mom's been buying and serving you for years), prime rib with horseradish crema and veggie option of maitake mushrooms flavored with orange and mustard seeds. Find the entire menu and make reservations on the Nickel's website.
1672 Lawrence Street
Go über-traditional with the Palm's three-course Thanksgiving feast: herbed roast turkey, dressing, housemade cranberry sauce (no can imprints on a quivering jellied cylinder in this storied dining room), mashed potatoes and gravy plus soup and dessert for $59 ($24 for children under twelve). The restaurant will be open from noon until 8 p.m.; make your reservations by phone or on the Palm's website.
918 17th Street
For just $40, this restaurant that serves the cuisine of the "new American West" is making good on its promise with a Colorado-flavored Thanksgiving menu. There's turkey, taters and gravy, of course, but also butternut soup with truffle cream, and chile and cornbread stuffing. Not in the Thanksgiving spirit? Range's regular winter menu will also be available.
Ruth's Chris Steak House
707 15th Street , 303-825-0713
7001 East Belleview Avenue, 303-854-9304
Both outposts of the chain are serving a three-course Thanksgiving menu starting at noon for $39.95. There's nothing innovative about the menu — just soup or salad, turkey, stuffing, sides and dessert — but it will be served in a cozy and comfortable steakhouse environment that never gets old. Find more details and make your reservation on the Ruth's Chris website.
Salt, the Bistro
1047 Pearl Street, Boulder
For a traditional, terrestrial Thanksgiving menu with just a hint of the sea, reserve a seat at Salt for $65. The menu includes turkey and all the trimmings, but it also boasts lamb osso bucco with Brussels sprouts and risotto, and capellini packed with scallops, shrimp, mussels and lobster butter. Call to book a table.
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1659 Wazee Street
In addition to the standards, Urban Farmer's turkey day menu ($75 for adults, $25 for kiddos) is branching out with entree options including meat pie with beet gastrique and crème fraîche; salmon accompanied by salsify, squash and plum butter; and (in the rare vegetarian option that doesn't seem like an afterthought) cauliflower steak served with green garlic, hemp seeds, pistachios and curry. The four-course menu will be served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; find the complete menu and make a reservation on Urban Farmer's website.
1043 Pearl Street, Boulder
Boulder's shrine to seafood is offering a turkey option on its three-course, $65 Thanksgiving menu, but if you're not a fan of poultry, you'll have plenty of non-fowl options, including kaya toast, mahi mahi with caramelized onion and ginger beurre blanc, and a vegetarian rice cake with seasonal accompaniments of white beans, pumpkin purée, roasted beets, pepitas and pickled peppers. Find the entire menu at wildstandard.com before booking your seat.