Five Front Range restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving

Can't make it home for Thanksgiving? Dreading cooking a feast for your relatives? Maybe it's a good year to go out to eat. And we're not talking about some convoluted stereotype focused on the take-out Chinese food place down the street -- we're talking good food at good places around town.

Behold, our list of five great Front Range restaurants that will be open for business on Thanksgiving day.

Chautauqua Dining Hall, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder We're not usually into skipping the table feast for a buffet, but we'd make an exception for the Chautauqua Dining Hall just because of the experience it affords. Nestled up against the base of the Flatirons, the restaurant offers sweeping scenic views that add charm to any meal. And on Thanksgiving, that will be the charming stage for the spot's Thanksgiving buffet dinner, a low-key offering of traditional holiday fixings for $36 per person.

Opus, 2575 West Main Street Being waited on more your style? This southwestern suburban restaurant plans on wooing diners with a $45 three-course prix fixe menu. Sure, you could have a more traditional take on dinner, opting for the candied sweet potatoes followed by turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries, but we think the other options look like a good distraction: lobster bisque and short rib are also available as appetizers; salmon with corn pudding is the other entree. The doors open at 2 p.m.

Parallel 17, 1600 East 17th Street If you're not feeling turkey this Thanksgiving, you might want to head over to Parallel Seventeen. From noon to 8 p.m., the spot will feature its take on Thanksgiving, with turkey served three ways (one of those ways is fried cracklins -- delicious), cranberry gelee and deconstructed pumpkin pie. In addition, though, the full menu will be available, which means if you want to forgo fowl for pho, it's completely your prerogative.

Colterra, 210 Franklin Street, Niwot Colterra will see your Thanksgiving and raise you one, adding sexy options in among the turkey with all the fixins on its $55 fixed price three-course menu. A sampling? Crispy dungeness crab cakes, buffalo carpaccio, filet mignon with butternut squash and potato gratin and mahi mahi. Spiced pumpkin mousse cake is the most traditional dessert, flourless chocolate torte is probably the least.

Second Home Kitchen & Bar, 150 Clayton Lane No doubt catering to mostly travelers spending Thanksgiving at the JW Marriott, Second Home is serving a traditional coursed family-style Thanksgiving feast From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. And by traditional, we mean stuff like turkey and cranberry sauce, of course, but also delicious little additions like roasted porchetta and Parmesan risotto. Better yet, the restaurant's sending diners home with a goody bag of leftovers. So you get the whole experience except for the hard labor part.

Know of others? Leave them in the comments below.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk