Where to Dine Out on Thanksgiving Day

By Taylor Smith 

Feature image courtesy of: Elizabeth Anne Designs

Expecting the entire family this Thanksgiving and looking for a convenient and delicious solution to your conundrum? Dine out at anyone of these New Jersey restaurants and be delighted by the tastes, flavors, and atmosphere around you. The majority of the restaurants feature a pre-set price, and reservations are required. Many of the restaurants also specialize in locally grown flavors and influences (some distinctly Italian). So hurry — don’t delay in finalizing your plans for the big day!

The Olde Mill Inn & Grain House Restaurant (www.oldemillinn.com), located at 225 Route 202 in Basking Ridge, will host a bountiful, fully-catered Thanksgiving buffet on Thanksgiving Day from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The all-inclusive buffet is $59 for adults and $24 for children ages 4-11. Reservations are required by calling 908.696.2335. Expect an expansive salad bar, homemade artisanal breads, hickory smoked salmon, jumbo poached shrimp, pumpkin ravioli, leek cornbread stuffing, early winter local vegetables, cheddar and chive whipped potatoes, and much more. The herb and butter basted all-natural Goffle Farm Roasted Turkey with cranberry sauce and pan gravy is carved to order, along with a smoked and roasted Dutch Amish Ham with whole grain mustard sauce. All all-you-can-eat cornucopia of desserts features fresh baked cakes, fall pies, cobblers, bread pudding, pastries, and an ice cream bar.

Give “thanks” on November 22 at the buffet featured from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at The Bernards Inn (www.bernardsinn.com), 27 Mine Brook Road in Bernardsville. A three-course, prix-fixe menu will also be offered from noon to 6 p.m. Pricing for the buffet is $69 for adults and $35 for children ages 6 to 12. The prix-fixe option is $79 for adults and $35 for children age 12 and under. Reservations are required by calling 908.766.0002. Both meals will certainly set the holidays in motion with an oven-roasted, organic Griggstown turkey with all the complementary sides, as well as beef, seafood, and pasta selections. Savory salads, charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, and an elaborate dessert display round out the meal.

Restaurant Serenade (www.restaurantserenade.com) at 6 Roosevelt Avenue in Chatham is an artfully curated dining experience conceived by award-winning Chef James Laird. The Thanksgiving Day menu will be served from 2 to 7 p.m. Pricing is $79 per adult and $38 per child age 10 and under. The three-course dinner will be accompanied by multiple sides for each course. To book a table, call 973.701.0303. Notably, Serenade stands out for its vast collection of fine wines from around the world. The in-house sommelier works hand-in-hand with Chef Laird to develop wine pairings for each tasting menu. The hand-selected seasonal and regional ingredients are decidedly American in flavor and scope.

The striking Summit House (www.summithousenj.com), located at 395 Springfield Avenue in Summit, will serve Thanksgiving Day dinner from noon to 5 p.m. The traditional, seasonal, and locally-inspired meal includes a three-course, prix-fixe menu with four choices per course and abundant family-style sides. The cost is $85 per person (plus tax) and $25 for children age 10 and under. Highlights of the meal include a Parsnip Soup, Berkshire Pork Belly, Griggstown Turkey, Smoked Maple Pork Loin, spelt-grain sourdough stuffing, roasted fall vegetables, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and homemade cranberry sauce and gravy. The Sweet Potato Pie (just one of the many dessert offerings) is flavored by burnt marshmallow and graham crust. The Chocolate-Oatmeal Pie includes decadent pecan and caramel.

Open Thanksgiving Day from 2 to 8 p.m., Palazzo restaurant (www.palazzonj.com) is at 11 South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair. For reservations, call 973.746.6778. The cost to attend is $49 per person (plus tax). A Kid’s Turkey Dinner is available for $23 for children ages 12 and younger. The menu features an impressive array of offerings for every palate. Starters include Acorn Squash Soup, Elk and Pear Sausage, PEI Mussels sautéed in marinara sauce, Calamari Balsamico, and the Palazzo Salad. Entrees offer everything from a Roasted Turkey and traditional sides to a Berkshire Pork Chop, Linguine Nostra, Veal Palazzo, and Rigatoni Primavera (among others). The meal concludes with your choice of dessert, coffee, and tea.

Charlotte’s Web Inn (ww.charlotteswebinn.com), a local favorite and ranked one of the best family restaurants in Morris County, will be serving a Thanksgiving Day menu from 1 to 7 p.m. Located at 39 West Clinton Street in Dover, the Inn is defined by an eclectic Italian menu influenced by the Italian and Austrian backgrounds of owners Sal and Charlotte Monteleone. Reservations can be made by calling 973.328.9387. Pricing is $29 for adults and $17 for children. Entrees are your choice of Roast Turkey with cornbread sausage stuffing (and traditional stuffing) or Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding. Also, Chicken Pastina Soup, rolls and homemade fruit breads, and cranberry relish with Grand Marnier.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with the whole family at Blue Morel (http://bluemorel.com), 2 Whippany Road in Morristown. The three-course menu is $64 for adults and $32 for children ages 12 and under. Seating is from 1 to 9 p.m. The Wine Room and private dining room are available for parties of up to 18 guests. For reservations, call 973.451.2619. Samplings of the menu include Baby Kale Salad, Braised Lentil Soup, Roasted Free Range Turkey, Lamb Bolognese, Pistachio Crusted New Zealand Venison, Seared Organic Salmon, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Warm Apple Crumble, and Warm Chocolate Brioche.

Cinders Wood Fire Grill and Craft Bar (www.cinderswoodfiregrill.com) is located at 319 US Highway 46 in Mine Hill. Reservations can be made by calling 973.928.7000. The cost is $32.99 per person (plus tax). An assortment of tapas start the meal (Autumn Bruschetta, anyone?), followed by Pumpkin or Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup, Fall Green Salad, and Butternut Squash Tortellini. Entrees include Hand Carved Turkey with cornbread stuffing, sweet potato mashed, roasted root vegetables, and cranberry sauce or Slow Roasted Prime Rib au Jus with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables. Dessert is Apple Cobbler a la mode, NY-Style Cheesecake, or Pumpkin Crisp.