Indiana Daily Student

Hungry for Thanksgiving and don't want to cook? Visit these chain restaurants to get your fix

It’s almost Thanksgiving. Time to brine the turkey, pop some cornbread in the oven and stir up some mashed potatoes.

Or, if you lack the motivation, don’t.

Many chain restaurants across the United States stay open on turkey day so your own kitchen doesn’t have to. Here are five located in Bloomington and beyond if you can’t find the courage within yourself to cook.


Ah, Applebee’s. Your local neighborhood’s favorite restaurant built around its head chef: a microwave. 

Certain locations are offering a special Thanksgiving feast with all the staples — even green beans. Check with your local restaurant for hours and availability.

If you happen upon an Applebee’s, you can also mix it up and order Thanksgiving-inspired combinations, like a handheld turkey sandwich or some trusty Green Bean Crispers.

If you’re a millennial, you’ve probably been accused of killing the industry of which Applebee’s is a part. 

Pay your dues this holiday season and help them heal. Spend your Thanksgiving evening here.

Bob Evans

Bob Evans offers some zesty to-go meals. We don’t know who is ordering these, but we express our deepest condolences to them. 

It doesn’t take an on-the-record exchange with a Bob Evans employee to know that everything in these meals comes from microwavable bags (including the turkey). Unless you’re ordering breakfast, that is.

Save some time by ordering the Turkey Farmhouse Feast. Get all the fixings — mashed potatoes, slow-roasted turkey breast and green beans with ham — packed cold and ready to heat in your humble home.

Fortunately, with Bob Evans, you’ve got options. You can upgrade to a Premium Farmhouse Feast, or you can get the ham alternative to your typical turkey fare.

Cracker Barrel 

If you’re too lazy to cook but still want to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal from the comfort of your own couch, Cracker Barrel’s Heat N’ Serve Holiday Family Meal to Go is probably your best bet. 

It’s promised to go from the oven to your dinner table in two hours or less. We haven’t put their claims to the test, but we’re going to take their word for it.

If you can’t even handle heating up a pre-prepared meal, there’s also the Homestyle Turkey n’ Dressing Family Meal to Go, which comes “hot and ready to serve.” 

And if you can’t figure out how to correctly order such a sophisticated meal, Cracker Barrel includes an extremely helpful FAQ on its website

All’s that left to say about this is that there’s a lot to be thankful for this year.


Let’s face it: under normal circumstances, you don’t go to Denny’s. You end up at a Denny’s somewhere, somehow.

If this is your fate on Thanksgiving, rest easy because Denny’s is open 24 hours, 365 days a year, and this holiday is no exception. If you need your fix of staple Thanksgiving foods, Denny’s offers pumpkin pie. 

But if you prefer to stick to true Denny’s form with a breakfast item, there is a (new) Pumpkin Cream Pancake Breakfast

Not sure what pumpkin cream is? We aren’t either, but we’re putting it on our readers to find out for us. Outsourcing some reporting, if you will.

Golden Corral

Golden Corral offers not one, not two, but three different kinds of pie for its Thanksgiving buffet. Wait, actually, cheesecake is not a pie. So make that two different kinds of pie: pumpkin and pecan. 

The Thanksgiving Day Buffet also includes holiday classics like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and turkey served in a variety of styles including carved, carved smoked and sliced turkey. 

If you hate Thanksgiving turkey like many swaths of Americans, there are some less mainstream choices like pizza and smoked baby back ribs. 

Grab a plate, get in line and eat yourself sick on an endless buffet. Your stomach might hate you, but not as much as your family will after you suggest going to Golden Corral on this special day.

The verdict

If your idea of celebrating a holiday centered around home-cooked food includes to-go meals, maybe you don’t understand what this holiday or America is about. 

Or maybe you understand it better than all of us. You’ll be saving a lot of time and hard labor.

Regardless, if you’re about to choose a sit-down restaurant that serves prepackaged meals under the guise that it’s homemade, maybe you should stay in and pop a few Swanson dinners or Lean Cuisines in the microwave instead.

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