Thanksgiving feasts will wind up being much more intimate affairs this year—but hey, a smaller head count just means you’ll have more money to splurge on takeout banquets from top chefs. (You’ve done enough home cooking in 2020; take a day off.) Yes, there are plenty of turkey-anchored packages out there, but we’ve also gathered up a few fantastic options that think beyond the bird and step outside the box. It’s 2020, baby. No rules.
Sure, a trussed-up turkey is the traditional centerpiece to a Thanksgiving table, but pork lovers should enlist the aid of Citizen—a handsome, Fenway-side gastropub that is famed for its whole pig roasts. Those feasts are getting a little makeover for the holiday: You can still order a 14-hour-cooked, butchered pig that feeds 10 or more folks, as well as a dialed-down version for half as many guests. But there’s also a splay of special sides and add-ons, including marshmallow-laden mashed sweet potatoes, baked stuffed tomatoes, toffee bread pudding, and seafood towers for gobbling down oysters and shrimp cocktail.
1310 Boylston St., Boston, 617-450-9000, citizenpub.com.
Vegetarians often get the short end of the stick on Thanksgiving, relegated to rote sides of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. But—behold! Local plant-based chain Clover has pulled together “Thanksgiving Boxes,” sized to feed up to 10 people, that actually go all out for herbivores: Think mushroom and walnut pâté, ready to be covered in thyme-, ginger- and black pepper-spiked gravy; acorn squash with maple-sriracha butter sauce; za’atar-spiced roasted Brussels sprouts; and more. Plus there’s plenty of optional add-ons, including pecks of apples from a local orchard, quarts of hearty soups, and even a morning-after “breakfast kit” to keep the gorging going on Black Friday.
1075 Cambridge St., Cambridge, cloverfoodlab.com; additional locations.
It’s been a tense year; maybe you need a little something to take the edge off dinner-table politicking? Cannabis-invoking cuisine from Dinner at Mary’s may come in handy at this juncture. The Boston-based operation sends out multi-course, cook-yourself meal kits that are (optionally) accompanied by THC-infused olive oil for drizzling a few milligrams of cool-and-calm on the end result. Just in time for Thanksgiving, chef Nicholas Escoto has prepared two-person portions of herbed turkey ballotine with a white wine and wild mushroom gravy; balsamic-glazed, roasted Brussels sprouts with smoked pork belly and golden raisins; and more. Still not relaxed? Add some CBD-infused pies, in flavors like bourbon chai apple, from Lionheart Confections—a new biz from pastry wiz Kate Holowchik, alum of hot spots like Yvonne’s.
If you’re planning your own feast, consider this Italian food emporium a one-stop shop for gathering all the necessary groceries, including Vermont-raised Misty Knolls turkeys, as well as intensely flavored, dry-aged KellyBronze birds from Virginia. But if you want to kick things up with flavors from the Boot—and why else are you at Eataly?—even better. Besides standard sides such as roasted squash, you’ll find a ton of family-style, ready-to-eat offerings, including prosciutto-laden Italian quiches, pans of Roman pizza, and pastries like panettone, a classic holiday fruitcake.
800 Boylston St. (Prudential Center), Boston, 617-807-7300, eataly.com.
Tucked behind a green door down a tiny alleyway in Union Square is Field & Vine, one of the Boston area’s best restaurants—and one of its most charming, too. The appeal comes in large part from its sincere commitment to seasonality and local sourcing, which also makes it a particularly appropriate place to supply New Englanders with their Thanksgiving bounty. This year’s cornucopia, for instance, comes complete with smoky confit turkey legs, shiitake and collard green casserole, cranberry chutney, and carrots roasted with brown butter yogurt and sage.
9 Sanborn Ct., Somerville, 617-718-2333, fieldandvinesomerville.com.
A quintessential American holiday gets a Down Under twist from KO, an East Boston outfit specializing in Australian meat pies. For the first time in its 10-year history, KO is offering a Thanksgiving feast anchored by a 12-inch, five-pound pie filled with braised turkey, mirepoix, and cranberry sauce. Add to that sausage roll stuffing, bacon fat corn bread, green bean and sweet potato with feta and a lemon mustard cream sauce, and sticky pumpkin pudding with maple butterscotch sauce—and you’ve got a heavyweight feast that’ll knock you right into a food coma.
256 Marginal St., Building 16, East Boston, 617-418-5234, kocateringandpies.com.
No Thanksgiving table is complete without pie—and if you’re on the hunt for a stellar slice, we’ve got a guide to the best in Boston right here. In addition, though, you’ll want to check out the holiday specials from New City Microcreamery, a pair of superlative ice cream parlors that have taken à la mode to the next level: They’re offering entire ice cream pies. Waffle-cone crusts are filled with flavors like roasted apple ice cream swirled with homemade oat streusel and cinnamon sugar, as well as bourbon-soaked pecan ice cream. Extremely cool idea.
403 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-0279; 28 Main St., Hudson, 978-333-7144, newcitymicrocreamery.com.
It seems particularly apropos to book a Thanksgiving banquet with Puritan & Company—after all, chef-owner Will Gilson is a Mayflower descendent. Naturally, his Cambridge restaurant is crafting all the sides and pies you need to round out the holiday, including gruyere and thyme scalloped potatoes, butter-roasted green beans with crispy shallots, cinnamon apple sauce, and fresh-baked Parker House rolls. The pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies, meanwhile, come courtesy of acclaimed pastry chef Brian Mercury; he’s also working with Gilson on the Lexington, a multi-restaurant operation that just opened in the Cambridge Crossing neighborhood.
1166 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-615-6195, puritancambridge.com.
This being the Bay State, why not trim that Thanksgiving turkey with a haul of seafood? You can net everything you need at Row 34 in the Seaport: There, chef Jeremy Sewall is offering turkey dinners with traditional accoutrements, such as oyster stuffing, as well as loads of surf-based sides—Maine lobster casserole, smoked shrimp pimento cheese, smoked bluefish pate, blue crab and artichoke dip, and much more. Out in the ‘burbs? While we await news on the fate of Row 34’s currently-closed Boston sibling, Island Creek Oyster Bar, you can also pick up these Thanksgiving specials from the latter’s Burlington location.
Chef Cassie Piuma’s splays of Eastern Mediterranean- and Middle Eastern-inspired small plates are never less than exceptional—hence her Somerville restaurant’s inclusion in our most recent look at the hottest spots in Boston. But we’re particularly excited to see how she’s using her spice rack to riff on Thanksgiving plates: Turkey with chestnut avgolemono, cranberry muhummara, loukaniko-studded pita stuffing, and pomegranate relish are all included in the dozen-strong splay of sized-for-two plates. Thirsty? Toss in to-go cocktails while you’re at it, including the Fireball of rye whisky, ginger, and harissa-cinnamon.
249 Pearl St., Somerville, 617-764-4464, sarmarestaurant.com.
Even during COVID-19, chef Andy Husbands continues to expand his barbecue empire: The Smoke Shop opened its fourth location in Harvard Square on Halloween. We’re grateful to have even more nearby options for picking up his Thanksgiving dinners, which cover whole smoked turkeys as well as pick-your-own poundage prime brisket and pork loin ham with honey and thyme. Then there’s half and full pans of green bean casserole with smoked portabella cream sauce, mashed sweet potatoes with candied pecans, and butter cake—plus bourbon pecan pies. Consider us fired up.
343 Congress St., Boston, 617-261-7427; 1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge, 617-577-7427; 8 Holyoke St., Cambridge, 617-547-7427; 325 Assembly Row, Somerville, 617-623-7427; thesmokeshopbbq.com.
Sunny chef-owner Cheryl Straughter is a sunny addition to Roxbury with her two-year-old restaurant focused on Southern-style cuisine. If you haven’t yet met her, tune in to Boston magazine’s Taste series of virtual events next week, when Straughter will be joined by Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen owner Nia Grace and Pagu chef-owner Tracy Chang for a conversation about “Saving Boston’s Restaurants.” And afterwards, place your order for Soleil’s holiday menu of comforting sides: collard greens with smoked turkey, black-eyed peas and rice, cranberry orange relish, and more. You can even get 10-percent off when you use your Taste Passport, which unlocks deals at 60-plus area restaurants and benefits the industry-advocacy work of Mass Restaurants United.
2306 Washington St., Boston, 617-541-9000, soleilboston.com.
Table chef-owner Jen Royle is just about ready to open the doors at Mercato, a neighboring Italian market where you can snag gourmet groceries, ready-to-eat noms, and even artisan kitchen sundries. While you’re waiting on that, though, you can already pre-order her Thanksgiving takeout package, which can be sized to feed up to six folks. The lineup? Roasted turkey breast, bread stuffing with Italian sausage, seven-layer lasagna, caprese salad, cranberry sauce, twice-baked potatoes, and apple crisp. Note: You might need a bigger table.
445 Hanover St., Boston, 857-250-4286, tableboston.com.
Here’s something we’re hugely thankful for: After shuttering for several months during the pandemic, Tiger Mama—the Southeast Asian-inspired entry from star chef and restaurateur Tiffani Faison—reopened this week for takeout and delivery. And it’s roaring back out of the gates with a “Tigergiving” menu for two that includes smoked half duck with ginger, hoisin, and spicy cranberry mustard; turkey pad kra pao, turkey lo mein; milk bread stuffing with miso butter; coconut sweet potato pie; and more. Hankering for something more down-home? Faison’s neighboring barbecue stunner, Sweet Cheeks Q, is offering its own Thanksgiving package with brined and smoked turkey breast, buttermilk biscuits, and more.
1363 Boylston St., Boston, 617-425-6262, tigermamaboston.com.
Café Du Pays, Cambridge’s cool, French-Canadian bistro, is taking a timeout during the pandemic—instead, its space has been reimagined as Vincent’s Corner Grocery, which pays tribute to a market that formerly inhabited the address. There you’ll find plenty of artisan provisions for your pantry, as well as prepared foods and takeout. For Thanksgiving, that includes tourtières: Canadian meat pies filled with pork and spices. Vincent’s is also stocked with braised brisket and confit turkey, sides like honeynut squash stuffed with kasha and dried cherries, challah stuffing, and sugar pies.
233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave., Cambridge, 617-314-7297, cafedupays.com.
Thanks to its heated igloos setup, Woods Hill Pier 4 has one of the best winterized patios in Boston right now. You can still gather around chef Charlie Foster’s refined farm-to-table cuisine during an at-home Thanksgiving, though, thanks to a fixings-filled takeout feast that includes everything but the turkey: Cornbread chorizo stuffing, broccoli casserole with cheddar aioli, orange- and ginger-accented cranberry sauce, and pumpkin cheesecake with raspberry coulis are all on deck.
300 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston, 617-981-4577, woodshillpier4.com.
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