The family tradition of spending three days shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning before Thanksgiving has been around as long as the holiday itself. (Except, of course, for the first one when the Native Americans provided the Pilgrims with all the food.) However, if you're stuck on campus or, for whatever your reason, planning to skip the big dinner altogether, to heck with tradition. Here are 10 chain restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day.

Cracker Barrel

Technically, Thanksgiving happens every week at Cracker Barrel. The Southern food restaurant has a daily rotating special and on Thursday, that's Turkey n' Dressing. On Thanksgiving, however, dinner will include turkey and gravy, sugar-cured ham, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, your choice of a side, a beverage and pumpkin pie. The restaurant is also doing takeaway dinner for up to six people that's hot and ready, or for 10 to be reheated at home. 

Bob Evans

Another casual favorite, Bob Evans, is open Thanksgiving Day. They're offering all the traditional Turkey Day favorites in meals that come with a choice of entree and three sides, and a slice of pie. The restaurant is also offering Holiday Farmhouse Feasts to-go for four, eight or 10 people. 

Buca di Beppo

If you haven't had lasagna with your Thanksgiving dinner, well, you clearly haven't spent it with ride-or-die Italians. Change that this year at Buca di Beppo, where the family-style Italian restaurant is serving a classic Thanksgiving menu (with added touches like spicy Italian sausage stuffing) with, of course, pasta. Buca is also offering prepped meals to go for three or five people.

The Capital Grille

If you want to go all-out, The Capital Grille is the place to do it. The high-end steakhouse is offering a special Thanksgiving menu including slow-roasted turkey with brioche stuffing and pumpkin cheesecake, in addition to their regular menu of dry-aged steaks.

Chart House

With 26 locations, many of them on the water, Chart House is where you should go if you want your turkey with a view. The restaurant is offering a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner in addition to their seafood-focused menu.

Golden Corral

Make sure to wear your stretchy pants if you're headed to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving. The restaurant's holiday menu includes slow roasted beef, turkey, ham, cornbread stuffing and sweet potato casserole, in addition to their full buffet with over 150 options.

Ruth's Chris Steak House

Ruth's Chris Steak House is offering a three-course Thanksgiving dinner for $39 that includes a soup or salad starter, turkey with sausage and herb stuffing and choice of a side, and a dessert duo. That's in addition to their normal menu of Prime steaks.

T.G.I. Fridays

Most locations of T.G.I. Fridays will be open on Thanksgiving, offering their menu of creative twists on comfort food. Their Fridays Feast offers two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts starting at $20.


While a lot of restaurants are working to make Thanksgiving dinner affordable to everyone, Applebee's might be the most wallet-friendly choice. The restaurant does a lot of solid combo dinners — like their two for $22 choices — and most locations will be open on Thanksgiving. Just remember to call first to check!

Bahama Breeze

Photo courtesy of Bahama Breeze

You probably don't think of Thanksgiving food when you think of Caribbean cuisine, but Bahama Breeze isn't sitting this holiday out. The chain will offer a full Thanksgiving dinner featuring jerk turkey and pork with sides like callaloo green beans, cornbread stuffing and cranberry-pineapple chutney, starting at $19.99. For this day only you can also order the Praline Pie and Junkanoo Juice (a specialty champagne and rum cocktail). Of course, their full menu will also be available all day, but if you're headed there, you might as well go for the main show.