My Thanksgiving menu is all set: a brined bone-in turkey breast, roasted Brussels sprouts sprinkled with crispy bacon, carrot-cashew purée, and scratch-made Parker House rolls. Because this is a once-a-year meal that I have down pat, I never veer much from the courses, perhaps substituting one veg dish for another or every so often changing up the bread.
It is far from broke, so I will keep fixing this same savory supper.
The only annual deviation is the dessert I make, and this year, my wife and I will further stuff ourselves with deep-dish chocolate-pumpkin marble brownies topped with toasted hazelnuts.
Because of the food but more so because of spending the entire day with my wife, alone together, Thanksgiving cemented its "Favorite Holiday" status more than a decade ago. Long before the pandemic made it medically de rigueur to socially distance ourselves, we have taken this day to enjoy a long morning walk, play Scrabble, and watch non-NFL TV while I whip this and chop that in the kitchen.
I am thankful and then some.
In case your Turkey Day traditions have been thrown for a self-quarantined stay-at-home loop, you can be thankful that so many professional kitchens in town are forging ahead with pre-ordered takeaway fare.
Last year at this time, I did my level best to feature several Savannah restaurants that were serving signature onsite Thanksgiving Day dinners. Some still are welcoming guests next Thursday, though I will let you social-media search out those socially safe options for yourselves.
Instead, my takeaways this year are a few heaping handfuls of actual takeaways, ranging from full meals to desserts. Order now while supplies last.
BAKED GOODS & DESSERTS
None of us needs a holiday to validate a visit to Auspicious Baking Company, but Katie Bryant, Mark Ekstrom, and their talented team are once again ready to make your Thanksgiving sweet and savory with breakfast pastries, crackers, and breads, as well as several specials.
Pre-orders placed before Sunday will be packaged for in-store pick ups at the bake house in Sandfly on Wednesday, Nov. 25 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mini croissants and brioche dinner buns are available by the dozen and half-dozen, respectively, and the pies are apple with an oatmeal crumble topping, chocolate pecan, pumpkin white chocolate, and vegan apple oatmeal crumb ($30-$36 each).
Baker’s Pride is also ready to take orders for dinner rolls and Thanksgiving-themed desserts, including daintily decorated cupcakes and its usual array of sheet cakes.
Back in the Day is another can’t-miss option for a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, and the ‘Thanksgiving Preorder Pies’ link on the bakery’s main website could not be easier to navigate. Pick apple, cranberry, or pumpkin (all $36) and choose your pickup time, either for Wednesday, Nov. 25 between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. or Thursday, Nov. 26 between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
This year, Big Bon Bodega is pulling out all of the pastry stops for its Thanksgiving Baked Good Pre-sale, with ordering already well underway on the main website and in the shop itself for an incredible variety of bagels, breads, and even casseroles.
All pickups will be on Wednesday, Nov. 25, during regular business hours.
In addition to the Montreal-style wood-fired bagels, Kay Heritage’s squad is baking loaves of plain, cranberry-walnut, and pumpkin sourdough, four-packs of cinnamon rolls, six-packs of cookies, and even family-sized casseroles: bacon & cheddar ($18) and hash brown ($15).
During the early pandemic months, Cotton & Rye’s pop-up bake shop became must-see social-media food porn, and Pastry Chef Peanut is still at it for the holiday, offering choco-pumpkin pies and apple pecan cobblers for pre-order purchase.
Also available for pre-order by Friday and then pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 25, from noon until 3:00 p.m., are her garlic cheddar biscuits and soft white milk rolls, though orders are selling out fast, so call or text the restaurant right now.
The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market is baking up homemade pies with fresh whipped cream. Choose from apple, bourbon pecan, or pumpkin, preorder your pie by Friday, and then pick it up at Bowerbird, the adjacent coffee bar inside the Perry Lane Hotel, between November 23 and 26.
Pastry Chef Peanut’s baked goods are far from the full feast being cooked up at Cotton & Rye. Sides and breads (servings for 8) offer chicken & cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, mac ‘n’ cheese, scalloped potatoes, spinach & kale gratin, sweet potato casserole, and even cranberry sauce and gravy. Pre-ordering is open until Friday, unless portions sell out first.
The Fat Radish is preparing TFR at Home side dish bundles, including honey-glazed butternut squash, mac n’ cheese, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed collard greens, and more. This week, the restaurant’s Instagram and emailed newsletter will contain all of the pre-ordering details.
To say that Green Truck Pub is offering starters, snacks, and sides is only scratching the surface. Available for online pre-order through Thursday, the Holiday Menu features three pages of food ranging from house-made stock to spiced Georgia nuts and another whole page of beer, wine, and sangria.
An extra-large pimento cheese plate comes with crostini and pickle spears ($20), and the family-sized Farm Truck Salad is topped with gorgonzola, caramelized onions, spiced nuts, apples, and cranberries and serves 4-6 ($25).
Casseroles are king and come in two-quart pans for reheating: Aunt Susan’s squash casserole recipe with sweet onions and gooey cheese ($27); creamy smashed potatoes and gravy ($25); sweet potato casserole with oranges and topped with candied pecans ($27); brown butter dressing with celery, onions, and house-made stock ($20); scalloped potatoes layered with sweet onion and topped with bacon and cream ($24); collards with garlic, onions, and smoked paprika ($22); corn pudding in a custard base ($22).
Snackables include house-made pimento cheese, bread & butter pickles, pickle spears, pickled okra, and kimchi, and a pecan pie made with Farmer Joe's pecans ($38) rounds out the comprehensive menu.
Pickups can be scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25, starting at 2:30 p.m.
FULL TAKEAWAY MEALS & IN-HOUSE DINING
In case you would like to be at the beach for your Thanksgiving meal, The Deck will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., serving a lunch buffet ($40 for adults, $12 for kids); reservations are recommended. The carte features herb roasted turkey breast, bourbon glazed ham, and prime rib for the meaty mains accompanied by eight classic and sumptuous sides.
The Olde Pink House is open on Thanksgiving Day but is fully promised with reservations for the main dining rooms. What a propitious sign in these strange times. The Arches Bar will seat walk-in diners first come, first served from noon until 9 p.m. A traditional turkey dinner has been added to a menu that features the venerable restaurant’s most popular items, and pans of collard greens and mac-and-cheese are on offer for pre-order and a Wednesday takeaway: $40 each for a 12-serving heat-and-serve pan.
The super-creative team at The Grey Market is preparing a dinner package for four for $115: smoked turkey breast, gravy, Parker House rolls, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing, smoked collards, and sweet potatoes; four-person servings of each are also available à la carte, as well as Dutch Fork pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and turmeric apple streusel.
Because Erica and Dwight Davis had been catering for decades before opening their charming brick-and-mortar in Thunderbolt last year, it comes as no surprise that Eric Davis Lowcountry’s Thanksgiving Order menu is fit for a king and a queen and all of their court: seven appetizers, each portioned for five, five different meat mains, ten South Georgia sides, and three desserts. Pre-order cutoff is 7 p.m. on Saturday with all pickups on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
In what may well be the most voluminous takeaway menu available, the Davises’ appetizers include blue crab dip, shrimp dip, smoked salmon, crab cakes, crab stew, and shrimp bisque; ‘Family Table’ mains offer smoked turkey, smoked ham, shrimp & grits, beef tenderloin, and smoked Boston butt, and the sides come in servings for 5, 10, or 25 people.
Or you can just order one each of the mud pie, pecan pie, and peach cobbler and eat nothing but sweets all day.
Another chock-full table can be pre-ordered from the always reliable Cohen’s Retreat. Executive Chef Will Herrington will roast you and yours either a small ($50) or large ($70) turkey with à la carte sauces by the quart and sides by the three-quart serving size. Package meals of a turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and two sides are on offer for $95 and $115, depending on the size of the bird, with either a pecan or pumpkin pie for $14.
The 1540 Room at The DeSoto is not hosting its usual in-person Thanksgiving feast but instead is preparing a lavish four-course meal for Turkey Day pick-up from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Per person, the meal is $45 and can be ordered as dinners for six ($252), eight ($304), or twelve ($360).
Starting with mushroom soup and an autumnal mixed green salad, the meal ramps up into a familiar main-course slate that is sure to be superb: whole roasted free-range turkey, sage cornbread stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, almond cranberry sautéed green beans, sweet potato casserole, and Parmesan garlic bread, all topped off with either pecan or pumpkin pie when the belt is loosened by one notch.
St. Neo's Brasserie is welcoming guests on Thanksgiving Day for socially-distanced dining and is also offering Thanksgiving at Home. Guests who want to get out of the house can celebrate and eat in The Drayton Hotel’s lovely dining room from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m., enjoying a family-style menu priced at $58 per person.
If you want to eat Executive Chef Christopher Meenan and Pastry Chef Brittany Iannarelli’s food at your house, St. Neo’s team will prepare the feast and also accept orders à la carte via the online ordering system Tock, on which pick-up times can be scheduled up to three days in advance.
Obviously, even this cornucopic collection of surely satisfying options is not the complete list, so turkey troll your own favorite eateries’ social media to see who else is furnishing fixin’ for your family’s feast.
Recognizing that I am addressing the anonymous reader, I really hope that you will make me that much more thankful this year by staying home. Make most of the meal yourself and order in the rest or go ‘whole turkey’ with one of the restos that is ready to prepare everything for you and your immediate loved ones. Do not drive anywhere. Do not get on a plane. Do not bring anything remotely diseasey back to Savannah. Tell your extended family members, "Not this year."
That way, next year, we might be lucky enough to be in each other’s company and give true thanks for what we have endured.