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Giving Thanks … and Not Doing the Dishes: Dining out for Turkey Day across Wilmington

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will awake many come Thursday morning, with balloons of Snoopy and Spidey flying between New York City’s skyscrapers. Rather than rush to get the stuffing in the oven and the potatoes peeled in time for the feast of all feasts, how ‘bout sitting back, having another cup of coffee, and enjoying the Broadway performers on TV dance through snippets of upcoming Tony Award-nominated shows? Let someone else do the cooking—and the dishes, for that matter—while you enjoy the sanctuary (or the madness) of family and being grateful for wholesome time spent with them. Here are a few places open come Thanksgiving Day that will serve up a feast.


1611 Pavilion Place • (910) 256-0115

Not only is the café serving the bird from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., they’re opening for breakfast at their sister location, Sweet and Savory Pub (2012 Eastwood Rd.) in case folks want to skip around for every meal on Thanksgiving Day. From 8 a.m. to noon, they’ll serve pancakes, French toast, omelets, eggs Benedict, chorizo and eggs, a paleo breakfast, and more.

The real deal comes at their Pavilion Place café for only $24.99 per adult and $14.99 for kids 4 to 11 (kids under 4 eat free). A family-style meal will have diners pass platters of food as if they’re at their own table at home. Aside from slow-roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, they’ll serve house-pulled BBQ pork, bacon-spiked mac ‘n’ cheese, creamed spinach, veggie lasagna, Texas Pete-bleu cheese cole slaw, green beans, and pies galore—pumpkin, Dutch apple, fugde, or pecan.

Reservations must be made in advance for the café’s Thanksgiving meal. The pub will be open all day with its regular lunch and dinner menus, noon until 10 p.m., and will provide runover seating for Thanksgiving reservations at the cafe.


2 Ann St. • (910) 343-0200

Folks can dine on the Cape Fear River, as the Pilot House will open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a four-course meal for $26.95 for adults and $12.95 for children under 12. Reservations are required, and vegetarian options are available upon request for the herbivores in the family.

Dinner will consist of a soup (Carolina bisque, butternut squash, or country ham and collards), a salad (house or Caesar), and choice of oven-roasted turkey or spiced and smoked ham. Side dishes will be traditional potatoes and yams, collards and green beans, with sausage and cornbread stuffing. Desserts consist of Caribbean fudge pie, pecan pie and pumpkin pie.


275 Waynick Blvd. • (910) 256-2251

Located on the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean in Wrightsville Beach, The Blockade Runner will  have a Thanksgiving buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $45 for adults, $17 for children 13 and under. It’s a perfect place to be to kick off the weekend’s NC Holiday Flotilla, full of a weekend of events. Beginning Friday night with the Blockade Runner’s Captain’s Party and leading into Saturday’s flotilla on the Intracoastal Waterway, the parade of boats sail across Wrightsville Beach’s channel, fully lit and sparkling. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition and a perfect way to kick off the holiday season.

Make reservations for Thanksgiving dinner by calling the Blockade Runner.


4 Marina St. • (910) 256-8500

Another Wrightsville Beach mainstay, located on the Intracoastal Waterway, Bluewater Waterfront Grill will open its Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. Cost is only $24.99 for adults, and $11.99 ages 12 and under. They’ll serve turkey and gravy, mac ‘n’ cheese, and mashed sweet potatoes, along with rosemary-roasted pork loin, baked salmon with creamy dill sauce, collards, broccoli salad and more. Dessert will be fresh fruit, key lime pie, pecan pie, and pumpline pie.

Call 256-8500 for reservations.


1414 Airlie Rd. • (910) 256-4519

Also on the Intracoastal Waterway, Bridge Tender may be known for their fine-dining seafood, but Thanksgiving’s four-course meal will come with homey comfort from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Their famed crab dip opens the meal, followed by soup or salad, and an entrée of turkey or ham, with the option to upgrade to prime rib for $5 more. Side items are traditional stuffing, corn pudding, choice of potato and vegetables, with rolls. Dessert will be a cinnamon and white chocolate bread pudding, as well as pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate chip cookie. Adults pay $24 and children are only $14.

Reservations should be made at 256-4519.


5559 Oleander Dr. • (910) 798-2913

Every year the Southern food staple of Wilmington gets overloaded with folks trying to grab a plate to the buffet. It comes with all the deliciacies one could desire south of the Mason-Dixon Line: turkey, ham, roast beef, dressing, biscuits, fried chicken, chicken and pastry, field peas, turnips, rutabagas, green beans, mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potatoes, banana pudding, blueberry cobbler, and the list goes on and on and on.

They do not accept reservations, so get there early; open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Thanksgiving.


301 N. Water St. • (910) 343-1818

Though known for their high-end steaks, Thanksgiving brings with it an air of elegance at Ruth’s Chris. Open from noon to 8 p.m., folks will be able to enjoy a three-course dinner for $39.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids. There will be a choice of gumbo or a salad for starters, turkey or ham, with choice of side item, for main course, and cheesecake or ice cream for dessert. Ruth’s Chris is also serving sides for Thanksgiving for people to take home: $29.95 feeds 10 to 12 and is offered in creamed spinach, green beans with garlic, and sweet-potato casserole.


9 North Front St. • (910) 251-1935

Why not enjoy Wilmington’s finest brew and some turkey come Thanksgiving Day? Front Street Brewery not only sales handcrafted brews on tap, made in house, they’re dinner costs a mere $7.99 for turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. They’ll open at 11:30 a.m., and they will be showing all the football games on TV.


301 N. Water St. • (910) 763-5900

The Hilton Wilmington Riverside will present their holiday buffet for three seatings: 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Stations feature over two dozen items, including a carvery station, with traditional turkey and a NY Strip loin, as well as salad, seafood, bread board, side items, and desserts. From smoked salmon to stuffed pork loin to cornbread stuffing and autumn veggie casserole, no one will leave hungry.


Eddie Romanelli’s noon buffet will welcome the family to 503 Olde Waterford Way for only $15.99 for adults, $7.99 for kids (5-12), and free for kids 5 and under. Call (910) 383-1885 for more info. • Henry’s (2508 Independence Blvd. in Wilmington) will serve a full menu and holiday favorites, like turkey and ham plates for $18.99-$24.99, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For reservations, call (910) 793-2929. • Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (1706 N. Lumina Ave., Wrightsville Beach)  will feature two seatings for their Thanksgiving buffet at noon and 2 p.m. Cost is $39.95 for adults, $19.95 for ages 6-12, and free for 5 and younger. Call (910) 256-2231 for reservations.• Hops Supply Co. (5400 Oleander Dr.) will do a meat-and-three for Thanksgiving: turkey and choice of three sides from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call (910) 833-8867 for more information. • Oceanic (703 S. Lumina Ave., Wrightsville Beach) will prepare full lunch and dinner menus from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with select holiday items included. Make reservations by calling (910) 256-5551. • Shell Island Resort (2700 N Lumina Ave., Wrightsville Beach) will host a buffet with two seatings: noon and 2:30 p.m. Traditional favorites, along with coastal delicacies in seafood and veggies, will be offered for $39.95 for adults, and $17 kids 4-12. Rservations can be made by calling (910) 256-8696.

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