Certain meals are synonymous with take-out — after all, Friday night’s pizza is rarely cooked at home.
But Thanksgiving dinner to-go? Is this a thing?
Absolutely, say experts. Turkey Day take-out is fast, easy and convenient. And people are taking advantage of it.
“Thanksgiving to-go has been catching on more and more,” says Jordan Limauro, special events and catering manager at Atlantic City’s Carmine’s, which has been offering turkey day take-out for the past five years.
“People are busy,” Limauro continues. “With Thanksgiving take-out, there’s less stress and less shopping, because who really wants to go grocery shopping for Thanksgiving? You put the food out on your nice plates, and you can tell everybody you made it yourself.”
Limauro did Thanksgiving Day take-out last year and wonders why she didn’t take advantage of it sooner. Take-out gave her the chance to connect with family and friends, something she didn’t do — make that couldn’t do — when she cooked on Thanksgiving.
“As someone who is always the one to cook and prepare, I felt like I missed out on so much,” Limauro notes. “I was so stressed and constantly up, down, back and forth; I never had the opportunity to enjoy the holiday with my family. This (take-out) alleviates so much of the burden and allows (me) to relax.”
Carmine’s offers an 18-pound turkey that’s carved, along with Brussels sprouts with cranberry and bacon, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing with sausage and sage, baby carrots with dill, cranberry sauce and homemade gravy that serves six to eight people for $249.99.
Convenience is another reason this new tradition is becoming popular, says Ron Ralston, general manager of Greate Bay Country Club in Galloway, which has been doing Thanksgiving to-go for the past seven years.
“Just like anything else, Thanksgiving dinner is a big production,” says Ralston. “Having somebody else cook for the family is a great thing. And it gives us the opportunity to put out a top-notch, quality product that’s easy to serve and easy to clean up.”
Last year, Greate Bay took 80 orders for Turkey Day take-out, which includes turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, baby carrots, pies and breads. There are two options: a small feast for four to eight people at $169.99, and a large feast for 8 to 12 people at $239.99.
This translates to about $20 per person, says Ralston, noting that it’s cheaper to do take-out than to dine at the club for Thanksgiving dinner.
Richard Salerno, executive chef of Greate Bay, knows firsthand how time-consuming preparing a holiday meal can be. “It all takes a lot of time: shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning,” he says. “It’s just easier to do take-out.”
Linwood Country Club will feature Thanksgiving dinner to-go for the second consecutive year. For 2019 the club will offer two packages, one that feeds 10 to 12 people and includes turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, a salad, a choice of three sides and two desserts for $225 and a second that feeds 15 to 20 people for $275.
“It’s a great value,” says Elizabeth DeMarco, marketing and communications manager for Linwood Country Club.
DeMarco is hosting her first Thanksgiving dinner and is getting take-out from the club. “It was a no-brainer for me to do take-out,” she says. “There’s so much food, and it’s of great quality, so I know it’s going to be good.”
At Buca Di Beppo inside Bally’s Atlantic City, celebrations are the heart of the restaurant’s identity. “We’ve built our brand around celebrations and families, large portions and affordable, homemade food,” says Jerry Beaver, director of dining. So whether you eat in or take out, Thanksgiving is a big part of Buca’s M.O. Its Thanksgiving take-out package includes turkey, stuffing with Italian sausage, string beans, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie. The small package serves up to three people for $68.99; the large, up to five people for $134.99.
Last year, Buca had nearly 70 orders for the take-out feast, says Beaver.
Limauro sums it up perfectly: “Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t get any easier than this. Take-out is a beautiful thing.”