Thanksgiving is arguably the best holiday. It’s an opportunity to be grateful for what you have, eat delicious food and spend time with family (either blood or chosen). There’s no need to buy presents, go to church or decorate the house. The most stressful aspect of the day is the cooking.
Putting on a traditional Thanksgiving spread with all the trimmings translates to a full day in the kitchen, especially if you include clean up. Why not avoid the hard work and eat out this year? The Twin Ports has an extensive array of options, including quite a few full buffets. And, of course, we hardly need to note that Duluth’s largest Thanksgiving feast — the 29th annual Twin Ports Thanksgiving Buffet at the DECC — is free of charge and meals can be delivered to home-bound residents.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular Thanksgiving restaurant options in the Twin Ports area. Feel free to mention your favorites in the comment section.
Barkers Waterfront Grille (Superior)
Barker’s Inn continues its annual Grand Thanksgiving Buffet this year. General Manager Shannon Olson says every staff person helps with the meal, from front desk clerks to housekeepers. They expect to serve 900-1000 guests.
The buffet is served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It includes the traditional turkey and trimmings but features a range of additional offerings, such as chef-carved smoked ham, macaroni & cheese and smiley potato fries as well as a 40-foot dessert table with a “huge array of desserts.” Pricing is $23 for adults, $21 for seniors (55+) and $10 for kids (5-10). Kids 4 and under eat free. Call 715-392-7152 for reservations.
Boat Club Restaurant & Bar (Duluth)
The Thanksgiving buffet at the Boat Club has been running for three years and consistently sells out, so reservations are a must. It’s an upscale version of dinner that you won’t likely find at grandma’s house, featuring several main courses, including turkey; stuffed pork loin with goat cheese, cranberries, persimmons and mustard green pesto; and broiled cod with a caper beurre blanc sauce.
A range of traditional and inspired sides will be available. Patrons can have traditional stuffing or opt for wild rice oyster stuffing. They can savor some tater tot hot dish or try the deviled eggs stuffed with crab or lobster. There’s also a kids’ station with chicken tenders and fries will satiate the picky eaters and several dessert options. Pricing is $28 for adults; $12 for kids 10 and under. Kids under 3 eat for free. Reserve a spot online or call 218-727-4880. More info.
Black Woods Grill & Bar (Duluth, Proctor, Two Harbors)
All three Black Woods restaurants will be serving buffet-style Thanksgiving dinners from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with turkey, ham and traditional sides as well as assorted desserts.
At the Two Harbors location the buffet will be $16 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. The restaurant will close at 4 p.m.
The Duluth restaurant is charging $21 for adults and $8 for kids. The Proctor Black Woods buffet will cost $17 for adults and $8 for kids. Both locations will remain open after the buffet until 10 p.m. for regular dinner service.
Dreamland Supper Club (South Range)
For non-turkey eaters, the beloved supper club outside of Superior will have its regular menu available on Thanksgiving. It will also serve a turkey dinner with the usual accompaniments from noon to 8 p.m. for $13.95.
Dry Dock Bar & Restaurant (Midway Township)
Don’t expect to order breakfast at the Dry Dock on Thanksgiving. They’re saving up their stamina to put on a massive turkey day buffet that includes all the items you’d expect and more. Main course alternatives include ham, beef tips and fish. There will be an appetizer table, salads and assorted desserts for the bargain price of $14.95 for adults, $6.99 for kids 6-12, and free for tykes under 5.
The buffet will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lower-level banquet room. A plated turkey or ham dinner with potatoes and veggies will also be available (along with the regular menu) in the dining room and bar for $10.99. Reservations are recommended so patrons don’t have to wait to be seated but walk-ins are welcome. Call 218-624-5512 to reserve a spot. More info.
JJ Astor at the Radisson (Duluth)
The area’s favorite rotating restaurant is doing things a little differently this year. They’re scrapping the usual buffet for a plated turkey dinner special with stuffing, mashed potatoes, asparagus and cranberries. It will be served on the later side, from 5 to 8 p.m., and will cost $28 for adults and $14 for kids 12 and under. Reservations can be made by calling 218-722-VIEW.
Ledge Rock Grille at Larsmont (Two Harbors)
For those who choose to venture up the shore, a classic Thanksgiving buffet with a gourmet flourish awaits. Chef Simon Gilna is preparing roasted turkey, which will be accompanied by sage pan gravy and sides like garlic mashed potatoes, maple sweet potatoes, rosemary stuffing and butternut squash soup. It’s $29.95 for adults and $18 for kids 5-12. Kids under 5 are free. The buffet runs from 2 to 8 p.m. Call for reservations 218-595-7510.
Lyric is open from 8 a.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving, and starting at 2 p.m. is offering a choice of roast turkey or pit ham, served with potato, corn and cranberries. The entree costs $13 and includes a slice of pumpkin pie. Reservations can be made by calling 218-249-9000.
Pickwick Restaurant and Pub (Duluth)
The iconic Duluth restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving and is serving a limited menu. For those who crave conventional fare, there’s a plated turkey dinner with sausage dressing and other typical trimmings. It comes with a salad and costs $23.50. Steak, seafood and pasta will be on offer as well as signature appetizers like the Pickwick’s unparalleled onion rings. More info.
Restaurant 301 at the Sheraton (Duluth)
The downtown hotel restaurant is drawing from Duluth history for its Thanksgiving dinner. It’s partnering again with the Glensheen Mansion to craft a menu using some of Clara Congdon’s handwritten recipes. Full details weren’t available at the time of publishing but it will be a coursed meal that includes traditional turkey and a dose of modern flair. Call 218-336-2705 for reservations and more information.
Silos Restaurant at Pier B (Duluth)
Reservations are required for the harbor side restaurant’s traditional Thanksgiving buffet. It happens from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and runs $23.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 6-12 (5 and under are free). Call 218-336-3430 or reserve online. More info.
Tavern on the Hill (Duluth)
Head to the Tavern if you’ve got a group that demands choices. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will serve its full menu, plus a casual version of Thanksgiving, an open-faced turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce for $14.
Upper Deck Restaurant and Lounge (Superior)
This Superior mainstay has been hosting a Thanksgiving buffet for more than two decades. It includes the typical turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy as well as ham, meatballs, a salad bar and two soups. There will be a dessert table too. The cost is $15.99 for adults and $7.99 for children under 10. Reservations are recommended for the buffet, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 715-395-8376 to secure a spot.
Tasty alternatives for introverts
If you prefer to dine at home but don’t want all the fuss of cooking, there are also take out options available. For newbies concerned about giving guests salmonella or drying out the main course, OMC Smokehouse has you covered. It’s selling 18-20 pound, wood-smoked, free range turkeys for $110 each. Call 218-606-1611 to order by Nov. 18.
The deli at Whole Foods Coop will prepare “everything but the bird” for its patrons. This includes smashed red potatoes, wild rice pilaf, gravy, pumpkin pie and more. Hurry if you want to get in on this deal that serves six for $99.99. Orders must be placed by 9 p.m. on Nov. 15 but there will be pies and sides galore available through Thursday at the deli for those who didn’t make that deadline.
Avoid cooking altogether by calling the Vanilla Bean in Duluth or Two Harbors. They will prepare an entire turkey dinner (serves 8-10) with all the trimmings for $150. More info.
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