Not every Thanksgiving has to involve an impromptu overnight at your packed hometown airport, a fight with your sister at the Des Plaines Oasis, or finally hitting absolute rock-bottom and making a phone call to the Food Network Turkey Hotline.
Chicago has lots of great restaurants that serve Thanksgiving dinner (with varying degrees of traditionalism), and our guide has you covered for a number of different scenarios – particularly the main one, i.e., forcing your family to eat in public so they can’t get into screaming fights about religion, politics, or whether or not you spoiled the latest Netflix phenomenon by mentioning a tiny detail from episode 8. Thank us later, after you’ve taken an extra-long nap since you didn’t have to do any dishes.
66 W Kinzie St
RPM in River North can be a scene, but it always delivers on food and service, making it a safe bet if you want a somewhat trendy experience. Count on seeing some expensive prix fixe upgrade options – and go ahead and add truffles and caviar to the foie gras torchon, parmesan risotto, and turkey prepared two ways, as long as you can put it on your corporate card. Charging Thanksgiving to your corporate card is probably not something you should do, but if you’re here, there’s a good chance your boss is making you work over the holiday weekend anyway.
The meal: Four-course, $85 prix fixe
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab
60 E Grand Ave
You can come here for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, or you can come here for some delicious crab with a pile of hashbrowns ordered a la carte. It’s a free country, as that annoying kid from homeroom loved to tell you in fifth grade.
The meal: Family-style, $49.95
Shaw’s Crab House
21 E. Hubbard St.
Another place to come for crab. Sure, they also have a Thanksgiving buffet with turkey and tenderloin. But you should really be focusing your attention on the seafood – crab legs, salmon, crab cakes, and a full-on raw bar. It’s what Shaw’s does best, and you can fit a lot of oysters in your purse.
The meal: Buffet, $75
435 N Clark St
Bub City is where you want to be for a Friendsgiving-y Thanksgiving – when you want to get drunk and eat too much, but also not go broke. They specialize in barbecue, so in addition to sweet potatoes and stuffing you’ll be eating brisket and/or smoked turkey. Their “giddy-up” fries (nachos made with waffle fries) may sound obnoxious, but they still taste really good – and if you make it to late-night, there will be karaoke. You’ve been warned.
The meal Buffet, $24.95