“I can’t. All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.” – Charlie Brown
Thanksgiving is a harvest festival and enjoying a bountiful meal is part of it. I have made Thanksgiving dinner a couple of times. And it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t great either, and it was quite the project.
There are plenty of good reasons you might be thankful for choosing an affordable restaurant for your Thanksgiving meal.
- You might have to work on Thanksgiving so you need flexibility and convenience.
- You might be spending Thanksgiving by yourself (yup, that’s me) and you want to celebrate but you don’t want to spend a fortune on a fancy restaurant.
- You like straightforward, traditional Thanksgiving food, not new or fancy iterations.
- You don’t especially feel like dressing up to go out.
- You’ve got young kids or other responsibilities that take up a lot of your energy so cooking would just be too much this year.
- Portion control. You don’t have a great quantity of food that may tempt you to take additional helpings or eat high-calorie leftovers (pecan pie, I’m looking at you!)
- It’s less stressful. You don’t have to manage multiple dishes and cooking times. You don’t have to strive to please the palates and dietary needs of your family and friends.
Here are some options to consider. I just can’t choose! They all sound good. I like that they all include pie!
- $12 – Cracker Barrel (Sterling and Manassas) offers a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day only for $11.99 between 11 a.m. and closing. (570 calories — not sure I believe this) I’ve had the Thanksgiving meal and it is delicious but it comes with this caveat: Thanksgiving Day is Cracker Barrel’s busiest day of the year. They will serve 1.4 million slices of pie! I recommend eating as early as possible, tipping your server well 🙂 and moving outside to enjoy the rocking chairs instead of lingering at your table at the end of your meal, since there will be a huge amount of people waiting for a table, because that is just good karma. This is what you get for $12: turkey with dressing, gravy, a sampling of sugar cured ham, sweet potato casserole with pecans, a choice of country side, biscuits or corn muffins, iced tea or coffee, and a slice of pumpkin pie. That is a phenomenal deal and an especially great option for people dining alone on Thanksgiving. I like that you get a bit of ham with your turkey. The only downside I see here would be the potential wait and the crowds.
- $13 – Boston Market (Fairfax and McLean) offers a traditional Thanksgiving meal for $13 between 11 a.m, and closing (I believe they close early on Thanksgiving). (700 – 1000 calories) I’ve had it and it is a convenient option if you are working and don’t have a lot of time on Thanksgiving. It’s counter service, so you won’t have to wait at all for your meal. Most of the people coming in are picking up orders, so there’s room to sit. You get sliced, roasted turkey (or you can choose a roasted half chicken), your choice of two sides (mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetable stuffing, sweet potato casserole, corn and macaroni and cheese), a dinner roll and a slice of apple pie or pumpkin pie. The beverage is extra. Tip: I’m not wild about the cranberry sauce. I’m sure it’s good but I’m allergic to walnuts, and anyway, it counts as a side. I’ve brought some canned cranberry sauce for my meal-for-one and been perfectly happy.
- $15 – Bob Evans (Fairfax, Chantilly, Springfield, Manassas and Leesburg) offers an exceptionally hearty meal with lots of choices for a good value between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for $14.99. (780-3510 calories) The beverage is extra. The meal (dine-in only) includes roast turkey and dressing PLUS three additional sides (mashed potatoes, corn, green beans with ham, carrots, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw) AND unlimited bread (biscuits, rolls, pumpkin bread or banana nut bread) AND a slice of pumpkin pie or apple pie. Wow! You sure won’t leave hungry! If you don’t care for turkey, you can pick ham or country-fried steak, instead. And the kid’s meal is only $6.99 and includes a beverage. That makes this restaurant an especially appealing choice for families with children.
These restaurants also offer family-sized carryout meals, ordered in advance.