Why some families eat thanksgiving out and some suggestions on where to take them

By November 12, 2019 No Comments

By Bethany Ruhe
Pittsburgh Current Associate Publisher

Thanksgiving, like 4th of July and Arbor Day, are one of those uniquely American holidays that you quite literally cannot celebrate anything else. And perhaps more than any other holiday, American or not, no other day is anchored by, exists for and is defined by a meal. 

Not just any meal, but a very specific pairing of turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, and, in my opinion, the star of the show, stuffing. Sure, there are variations, but 99% of Thanksgiving tables will have one or more of these dishes present. 

For many, many people this holiday is celebrated in someone’s home, with friends and family gathered from near and far to be thankful, eat themselves in to a coma and pretend to watch football, all while sneak-drinking wine in the kitchen so you don’t get finger-wags from your mother. 

But for others, Thanksgiving is spent around the table at a restaurant. Reasons for this are as varied as the options on a Thanksgiving dessert buffet. 

Matt Neistein of Beechview prefers it because “for the past couple of years it’s just been the two of us, and cooking up a big meal for two people almost seems counterproductive.” Which rings true as someone who has avoided the post-Thanksgiving dinner kitchen of carnage like the plague. It is a lot of work, both before and after. 

Some folks alternate dining in and out, depending on the year. Jen Greenwald, of Churchill, spends the years with her husband, Dan’s, family, trying out different restaurants for Thanksgiving. This year they’re traveling to Stonewall Resort in WV. There are pros and cons to going out. For instance, as many carbs as you want from the buffet, but, according to Greenwald, “You can’t hang out and talk because the next reservation is waiting for your table. And with a large group there are always several people you barely talk to because they’re seated too far away from you.”

For others, it’s simply a time issue. April Hanahan of Monroeville wants more time to spend with her family, and less time cleaning and cooking; “Not spending that day cooking, gives me a lot more time to actually enjoy it with my child!”

Whatever your reasons, there is a place in Pittsburgh for you to spend your Thanksgiving. Just remember, the folks in the kitchen and in the dining room are working on their holiday, too. Neinstein knows this all too well. “The restaurant staff knows it’s a special day, so they seem to take a little more time making sure you’re happy. And we always tip a lot more because these are people working instead of being with their families.”

Whatever you do, wherever you are, Pittsburgh Current wishes you a happy and safe Thanksgiving! 

Places to get your Thanksgiving Dinner on the Town

Atria’s, multiple locations

$27 per person, to-go option available

Braddock’s Rebellion, Downtown

$43.95, adult, $19 12 and under, children under 5 are free

Brick Shop, Tryp Hotel, Lawrenceville

$38 per person, reservations not required but suggested

The Capital Grille, Downtown

$43 adult, $15 children

The Commoner, Downtown

3 pm – 8 pm

$38 per person, reservations not required but suggested

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Downtown

11 am – 8 pm

Gateway Clipper Fleet, Station Square

2 board times: 11 am and 3:30 pm

$57 adults, $26 children 1-12

(check out their Light Up Night cruise, too!)

Grand Concourse, Station Square

10am – 9pm

$44 adults, $21 children, take-out options also available

Hard Rock Cafe, Station Square

11 am -8 pm

Hyeholde, Moon Township

11:30 am – 5:30 pm

$50 adults, $25 children, reservations required

Rivers Casino, North Shore

10:30 am – 8 pm


Senti Restaurant and Wine Bar, Lawrenceville

12 pm – 8 pm

$59 per person

Spirits and Tales, The Oaklander Hotel, Oakland

2 pm – 8 pm

Thanksgiving Prix Fixe, call for prices

Walnut Grill, multiple locations

11 am – 7pm

$28.95 adult, $16.95 children 6-12, children 6 and under are free

Whitfield, Ace Hotel, East Liberty

11am – 8pm

$45 per person, reservations suggested

The Wooden Nickel Restaurant, Monroeville 

11 am – 10 pm

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