Dining Out for Thanksgiving



While many Southwest Florida residents will spend the day in their kitchens, several local restaurants will host Thanksgiving celebrations for guests more interested in being served a well-cooked meal than in preparing one themselves.

“We’ve had guests who have been coming here for decades for Thanksgiving,” says Michael Klauber, co-proprietor of Michael’s on East. “It’s just part of the great connection we have here.”

There will be special events at Michael’s Wine Cellar, and Michael’s On East proper will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. today. There will, of course, be turkey available, though Klauber says quite a few guests come in looking for non-Thanksgiving offerings that will be available on a limited menu as well.

At Mattison’s Restaurants locations, staff will be ready to treat guests as well. “We’re happy to be a place where people come to celebrate the holidays with us,” says Caryn Hodge, Mattison’s marketing director.

On Wednesday, she said chefs at Mattison’s Forty-One, Mattison’s City Grille Downtown Sarasota and Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk all were busy preparing for holiday feasts. “You;ve never seen so much turkey and so much activity,” she says.

And it’s not all to handle dine-in traffic. Both Mattison’s and Michael’s have some major take-out orders ready to go. Hodges says 91 “Feast To Go” orders will be filled, and no more orders will be taken. The restaurnts will take walk-ins, though Hodge recommends reservations.  Mattison’s Forty-One will operate from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Downtown Sarasota will from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Riverwalk will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

Staying open for Thanksgiving provides diners a chance to enjoy a spread of high-quality food without sweating in the kitchen before a meal or spending hours cleaning up after. And for those who don’t expect a crowd for Thanksgiving, it’s a way to enjoy great entrees and sides without preparing a meal for 10 to serve to two.

If you feel bad ordering food from people who could be in their own homes, restaurateurs say hours have been set to allow workers a chance to celebrate with their own families as well.

Of course, providing a hospitable and hearty meal in moments of celebration also serves as a primary mission in the restaurant industry.  “I love being in the restaurant on holidays,” says Klauber.

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