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An early look at Columbia restaurants' Thanksgiving specials

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A turkey smoking at The War Mouth (copy)

A turkey smoking at The War Mouth

It only seems too early to think about Thanksgiving dinner. 

It’s never too soon to plan ahead, especially in 2020. Many of Columbia’s finest eateries agree and have already started releasing their takeout specials. From smoked turkeys to take-home cocktail mixes, Soda City's restaurants are ready to make your holiday a bit easier on the early-morning legwork in the kitchen. 

Look for this takeout list to be continually updated online in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, so if your favorite spot isn’t on here right now, there’s a good chance they have yet to announce their plans. Email davidc@free-times.com with anything we've missed.

Capital City Kitchen and Grill — Southern restaurant Capital City Kitchen and Grill is selling fried turkey wings of six different varieties and pans of chicken leg quarters that serve anywhere from 15 to 45 people.

Sides also come in full- or half-pan sizes, and run anywhere from $47.25 to $84 at the peak. The full pans feed 30 to 45 people, while a half pan feeds 15 to 22.

Find the ordering link at facebook.com/capitalcitykg, or place your order in person at the Decker Boulevard restaurant.

Cracker Barrel — Omnipresent homestyle cooking chain Cracker Barrel will offer take-home-and-heat meals for get-togethers of various sizes. Mac and cheese, turkey, honey ham, sweet potato casserole and more are all on offer. Additionally, the chain’s locations will be open for regular business hours on Thanksgiving Day, with a traditional Thanksgiving meal available. Find out more here at crackerbarrel.com/explore/thanksgiving

The Fresh Market — Do you need a holiday meal for three people? What about one for 14? Grocery chain The Fresh Market has you covered with a variety of options this year, often at a lower price than you’ll find elsewhere.  

The holiday meal packages comes with ham or turkey, whipped Yukon gold potatoes, green beans and more. Like others on the list, you can also break that order up and buy various meats — from pork crown roast to beef tenderloin — by the pound. Read more and order at thefreshmarket.com/our-products/holiday-meals.

Home Team BBQ The Five Points outpost of the Charleston barbecue chain is offering a family package that has smoked turkeys and hams, sides like green bean casserole and Hawaiian rolls, and pans of banana pudding or apple cobbler, among other selections. 

If you want to customize things a bit more, Home Team will accommodate that, too, with a “build your own Thanksgiving spread” option. Looking for libations? Home Team can help there, as well, selling cocktail mixes that you just need a spirit to finish the job. Find out more details at hometeambbq.com 

Maurice’s Piggie Park — The oft-debated South Carolina barbecue chain with nine locations in the greater Columbia area is smoking turkeys this Thanksgiving. With 48 hours notice, and at the cost of $13.50 per person (subject to change by group size), the restaurant will sell you a holiday package of turkey, honey-glazed ham, and mashed potatoes or stuffing. More details and ordering info can be found at piggiepark.com

Midwood Smokehouse — Another barbecue chain, another Thanksgiving special. Midwood Smokehouse’s offerings include a whole lot of meat options. There's a Joyce Farms whole smoked turkey, sliced ham, brisket, barbecued half chickens and more. Additionally, the restaurant isn’t skimping on the sides either, with quarts and half pans of collard greens, mac and cheese and more traditional side available. 

Midwood is asking all orders be placed by Nov. 22 and picked up by Nov. 25. View the whole menu and more info at midwoodssmokehosue.com.

SmallSUGAR — Vista cafe SmallSUGAR is offering a wide range of options for almost any budget this Thanksgiving, with meal offerings ranging from $175 to feed two to four guests up to $725 to get a dinner, including wine and additional dessert options, for six to eight people. The meals literally handle every aspect, with a tomato tartlet appetizer, sourdough stuffing, the turkey and so much more. 

Sarah Simmons and Aaron Hoskins' joint has a number of other options that stretch far between those figures, all centered around various wine offerings — learn more at smallsugarsc.com

Spotted Salamander Catering and Cafe — Columbia Southern eatery Spotted Salamander is selling Thanksgiving dishes a la carte this year, with turkeys, mashed sweet potatoes and housemade cranberry sauce available individually. In typical fashion for chef and owner Jessica Shillato, many come with a slight twist or enhancement. The sweet potato mash comes with sage butter, the turkey is white-wine-and-herb-brined and there are spiced pecan and pimento cheese balls, too. 

The prices range, but your main proteins — turkey or ham — are $65 and $75, respectively. Shillato is slinging her standout cakes and pies for the holiday, too. Find the whole menu and prices at spotted-salamander.square.site.

The War Mouth — Cottontown’s Midlands cuisine and barbecue haven is offering up a limited amount of smoked turkeys and bourbon cream pies for Thanksgiving pre-orders. The 10 to 12 pound turkeys cost $60, while a bourbon cream pie will run you $35. For further details and ordering reach out to thewarmouth@gmail.com.

True BBQ — Barbecue favorite True BBQ is taking holiday meal orders by phone this year or in person at the store. The West Columbia restaurant will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but is open the three days leading up to the holiday and reopens Dec. 2. True can be reached by phone at 803-791-9950.

David Clarey joined Free Times in November 2019 as a food and news writer. He's constantly fighting competing desires to try cooking food at home and spending his entire paycheck on Columbia restaurants.

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