When it comes to hosting Thanksgiving, there are several paths to success. One is to be an awesome cook and work for at least a week leading up to the feast, making everything from scratch, from the cranberry sauce to the roasted pumpkin pie. But then you'd be exhausted by the time dinner rolled around.
The best bet for hosting without burning yourself out is to put together a menu of items you can pick up at great spots around town, saving yourself the hassle of stuffing that turkey at the crack of dawn. Be sure to transfer everything to your own serving dishes though, so your guests won’t be any wiser about your holiday hack.
If reservations are more your speed this holiday season, we’ve included a solid list of recommendations for restaurants serving up Thanksgiving feasts.
Turkey & all the trimmings
Yes, you can make one call and get everything you need. It’s not as much fun or as special as compiling your own bespoke menu, but if you must here are a couple options:
While honey-baked ham for Thanksgiving feels wrong, it's an option from Halls Management Group, which has traditional turkey dinners, too. It's not cheap at $180 for four people (you can order for as many as you need), but it's complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, a choice of whipped sweet potatoes or creamed corn casserole, sauteed green beans or green bean casserole, roasted vegetables and dinner rolls. For an extra cost you can add a couple of pies to the menu, too. Order online at HallManagementGroup.com/Shop or call 843-242-3185 by Friday, Nov. 16. Pickup is at 5 Faber Place.
Another complete option comes from Hamby Catering and this one allows you to feed a needy family as well. The Gobble Gobble package feeds eight ($165) with a bourbon-smoked turkey, muscadine chutney, mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cornbread dressing and gravy. Plus, Hamby will sponsor a family meal through Lowcountry Food Bank for every package it sells. Place an order via hambycatering.com or call 843-725-4035. 925 St. Andrews Blvd.
Going a la carte requires a strategy
Nibbles and Sips
First things first, you must have something to nibble and sip on before you dive into the main feast, and Goat.Sheep.Cow has got just the thing to start with: Baked Rush Creek Reserve.
Only available from November to the first of January, Rush Creek Reserve is a soft raw milk cheese that is produced by Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin. Manager Nick Garcia says the diet of the cows changes from summer grass to dry hay in the autumn and leads to a richer texture in the cheese. He suggests serving this at room temperature with a baguette on the side. Or, if you want to really impress, you can bake it with garlic, bacon lardons, bacon fat and champagne. Garcia says Rush Creek Reserve isn't the only seasonal cheese they'll have, but if you're looking for just one, this would be it. Goat.Sheep.Cow has locations at 106 Church St. and 804 Meeting St.
Pair it with a bottle of Le P’tit Blanc du Tue-Boeuf from Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf of France's Loire Valley ($24.99). He describes it as light, bright and crisp. 1107 King St.
Or get everyone feeling super festive with a Pumpkin Spice Killer using Holy Smoke Hickory Smoked Wildflower Honey. It's like a Painkiller, but with pumpkin. Flavor some vodka with cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and smoked honey (let it sit for a while and then shake and strain). Once strained, shake the vodka up with pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, dark rum and top with freshly grated nutmeg. It'll get the party going.
Most barbecue restaurants will be selling smoked turkeys and other options. Swig and Swine has whole smoked turkeys for $80, plus pork butts and brisket, but I would recommend sticking to the classic poultry offering. 1217 Savannah Hwy., 843-225-3805; or 2379 Hwy. 41, 843-416-7368
Both places have sides, but if you'd rather piecemeal it, take a look at these other options.
Mercantile and Mash has the whole Thanksgiving shebang available for pre-order, but the collards with house-smoked ham hocks and the white cheddar macaroni and cheese with a fancy buttered bread crumb topping would make for some ideal sides. 701 East Bay St., 843-793-2636
At Ted's Butcherblock, round out your menu with sausage, apple and fennel dressing and some smoked and mashed sweet potatoes with bacon, parmesan, thyme and breadcrumb topping (both are $14/lb). 334 East Bay St., 843-577-0094
It's not a holiday without mashed potatoes and gravy and for that, go to Square Onion, which has cheddar and chive mashed potatoes ($16/sm) and giblet gravy ($8/pint). While you're there, you might as well pick up a broccoli-cheese casserole ($18/sm) and some homemade cranberry sauce ($5/half-pint). Call 843-856-4246 to pre-order by Saturday, Nov. 17.
While biscuits and cornbread are wonderful things, the best bread for Thanksgiving is a soft, warm Parker House roll, which you can pre-order from Browns Court Bakery. The deadline is the Friday before Thanksgiving and smaller rolls run $9 for 12. It's the perfect turkey gravy delivery device. 199 St. Philip St., 843-724-0833
And don't forget some more wine. Miles White at Graft (700 King St.) recommends Polpo Rosso (Red Octopus), a delicious wine from Italy that runs $19 and is easy to drink with turkey and all the fixings.
It's important to have a variety of sweets for dessert. And coffee. You have to end with a nice warm cup of Joe. Second State Coffee has a special Cornucopia Blend just right for the holidays. Described as crisp, sweet and smooth, this locally roasted brew has notes of cherry pie, baking spices and caramel. It's $14.95 for a bag that can be ordered online or picked up at Second State Coffee at 70.5 Beaufain St.
Ms. Rose's Fine Foods and Cocktails' pastry chef Elizabeth Gorman has put together a large menu of cakes and pies to choose from for the holiday. You could opt for a very chocolate-y blackout cake but that seems overkill. Instead, I'd recommend getting the pumpkin spice cake ($50) which is gluten-free and would make a fine breakfast bite or late night nibble (after that first turkey sandwich, of course). Call 843-766-0223, or order online.
For pies, head to Kudzu Bakery in Mount Pleasant where they keep the lineup classic with apple-cranberry, pumpkin, apple crumb, pecan pie and a double dutch apple. Prices range from $20 to $21 and they recommend calling in your order the week before Thanksgiving. 794 Coleman Blvd., 843-284-8847
Downtown, Twenty-Six Divine has tapped the talents of Kelly Kleisner of Mirabelle Bakery to expand their pre-order dessert options for the holiday. Pies cost $25 and include savory and sweet options, including spinach pie, beef shepherd's pie, apple-streusel, pecan and banana-toffee among a few others. 682 King St. (843) 297-8118
Butcher & Bee is taking orders for pumpkin pie, lattice apple pie, pull-apart rolls, salted caramel chocolate tart and pecan pie cheesecake. Hurry though, orders must be placed by Monday, Nov. 19. (843) 619-0202.
If you're going to eat out for the holiday, it seems like a Thanksgiving buffet might be the best way to stuff yourself like you would at home. Tradd's, a new restaurant at 167 East Bay Street from the group behind Fleet Landing, is offering a full spread with roast turkey, ham, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole, cornbread stuffing, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, apple and cranberry cobbler, whoopie pies and caramel tarts. The buffet is $70 for adults, $30 for kids 12 and under. You also can opt for an a la carte holiday menu. Reservations can be made via Resy or by calling 843-414-7661.
82 Queen has an eclectic spread for Thanksgiving and is offering three courses for $60 with choices inclusing she-crab soup, fried oyster mac and cheese, herb-roasted turkey breast and a whole slate of desserts. Reservations can be made 843-723-7591.
Belly up to McCrady’s Tavern for a three-course menu that includes choices like Low Country Seafood Chowder, Roasted Whole Quail and Turkey Roulade, served 1-7 p.m. $60 per person. Make your reservations at OpenTable.
Lowcountry Bistro has a small a la carte menu for the holiday with a $27 turkey breast entree that comes with green beans, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and spiced cranberry chutney. You can't get more Thanksgiving than that. 49 S. Market St. (843) 302-0290
At Le Farfalle, they'll be open on Thanksgiving and serving the regular menu along with some "festive additions." Reserve via Resy or call 843-212-0920. 15 Beaufain St.
The Macintosh and Oak Steakhouse, both part of the Indigo Road Restaurant Group, will be opening at noon for Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving buffet at Sticky Fingers will be replete with smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, dinner rolls and a bunch more holiday essentials. And it's just $22/adult and $10/for kids 10 and under. (You can also order a meal to-go if you want to bring it home a feed a crowd.) Times vary by location.
Another option for later in the day on Thanksgiving is Josephine Wine Bar, which will be open from 4-11 p.m. with wine specials and a prime rib dinner (if turkey isn't your thing). 64 Spring St. (843) 974-4105