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Scott Joseph | Dining Out on Thanksgiving

Tap Room at Dubsdred is just one of the options for dining out on Thanksgiving.
Tap Room at Dubsdred is just one of the options for dining out on Thanksgiving.

It seems like there are a lot more options this year for people who want to dine out on Thanksgiving Day — I don’t just mean more hotel restaurants. Over the past several years, hotel dining rooms — or even ballrooms — seemed to be among the few options for T-day dining. That’s because the hotels are at peak occupancy this time of the year and, well, their guests have to eat somewhere. They tend to pull in a lot of locals, too.

But I’m seeing a lot more independent restaurants indicating they’ll be open for Thanksgiving 2014. I don’t know why that is but it’s encouraging from a business standpoint.

Another change I’m seeing is that there are fewer of the all you can eat buffets out there. Instead, many of the restaurants are offering special a la carte menus, usually with a set price, and guests can choose from among an array of options, which almost always include a variation on the big bird.

Not that the buffets have gone away entirely. You’ll find a very good one at the Tap Room at Dubsdread, a local favorite. Tropicale at the Caribe Royale has earned praise from some of my readers; and the Portofino Bay Hotel has a Gather Together Thanksgiving Celebration — pilgrim costumes optional.

For a la carte menus, Bistro on Park Avenue is offering turkey or ham dinners, and of course their terrific housemade desserts. Eddie V’s and Emeril’s Orlando or Tchoup Chop are upscale options. The decidedly more casual Drunken Monkey is offering its annual tofurkey for vegans.

And how about this for people who want to eat at home but don’t want to cook? Cuisiniers Catering and 310 Restaurants are taking orders to cook the dinner and have it all ready to be picked up to serve to whatever number of guests you specify.

Thanksgiving Day is November 27th this year, which according to my calendar is a Thursday.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."