Give Thanks for Getting Out of the Kitchen: Alternatives to Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is upon us, and thus begins the season cooking, cleaning, cooking, buying, cooking, wrapping, stressing and cooking.

But when you’re in Birmingham, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Many Birmingham restaurants cook up some of the finest meals you could ever hope to make at home.  Welcome the company, pour up a glass of cheer, and serve a totally impressive meal without breaking a sweat or a nail.  Bear in mind that time is of the essence, so call in your order ASAP.  Here are just a couple of places to place that call:

Irondale Café – As most locals know, the Irondale Café is the real life model for the fictional Whistle Stop Café in the hit movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.”  The movie is drawn from the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, written by Birmingham native, author and actress Fannie Flagg.  It is widely rumored that the story’s most colorful character, Idgie Threadgood, is loosely based on Flagg’s great aunt, Bess Fortenberry.  Fortenberry owned and ran the Irondale Café for half a century. Tourists from around the world seek out the restaurant for its Idgie connection.

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Green tomatoThis Thanksgiving, you can order slow roasted turkeys and hickory smoked hams from the Irondale Café.  Call or email to make your reservations, and, for heaven’s sake, don’t forget the sides of turnip greens, carrot salad, sweet potato casserole and, of course, fried green tomatoes.  Top it all off with their chocolate chess pie, and you’re the Thanksgiving rock star.  The restaurant also will be open Thanksgiving Day from 11am to 3 pm.

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Real & Rosemary – This relatively new dining room in the   fullsizerender-6
Birmingham suburb of Homewood specializes in what they call “real food.”  Their real food means no preservatives, food dyes or MSG. Right now you can order a complete Thanksgiving dinner of roasted turkey, cornbread dressing, sweet  potato casserole, charred carrots, and homemade cranberry sauce.  (Wonder if they use those heavy hand-cranked grinders that your grandmother used to screw onto the dining room table to pulverize those berries?)  The last time to pick up your pre-placed order at Real & Rosemary is Wednesday, November 23, at 8 pm, so get cracking,

An even better option might be to not let company come over at all.  Arrange to meet family and friends at one of several area restaurants that will be serving Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day.  Again, you’ll need to make those reservations now to ensure seating at:

fullsizerender-10  The Bright Star – This Bessemer (suburb of Birmingham) institution has been serving the community since 1907.  It is believed to be Alabama’s oldest family-owned restaurant.  In 2010, it was named one of the James Beard Foundation Awards’ “America’s Classics” honorees. All this to say the folks there have been cooking a long time, and they know what they’re doing.  Whatever entrée you order, be sure to have the Greek-style potatoes and carrot salad as sides.

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Galley & Garden – This upscale eatery on Birmingham’s Southside is serving a three-course, fixed-price menu on Thanksgiving.  That will save you some bucks when Uncle Furman tries to bust the budget.  The fixed-price dinner includes shrimp and grits or seared New York strip along with a lovely choice of side dishes.

_ttp3563At the Hyatt Regency-The Wynfrey Hotel, the longest hotel name in Alabama, chefs are serving up a Thanksgiving buffet with a carving station of roasted turkey and prime rib with au jus.  Out at Renaissance Ross Bridge, diners will find a soup and salad buffet, carving stations, an omelet station and—get this—a seafood station with shrimp, oysters and snow crab legs.  Who says a Thanksgiving meal has to be traditional food?

fullsizerender-9-copy-copyOther good restaurants open for Thanksgiving include Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Seasons 52 and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.

Now if the tryptophan from these feasts doesn’t kick your butt, take your family and visitors up to Vulcan Park and Museum Thanksgiving afternoon.  The world’s largest cast iron statue opens at 1:00 pm, and you can shop for Christmas goodies in their brand spanking new gift shop, The Anvil.

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