All the foodies have their Thanksgivings squared away—turkeys are brining, pie recipes are all picked out. But what about the non-foodies? One of the most tragic and inspiring Thanksgivings I ever had was the year I contemplated Minnesota Thanksgiving after a break-up: I wasn’t going to the family I usually spent time with, I was in no mood to go home to my parents, and frankly, I turned down a couple of very nice invitations because I had this feeling that if I spent the holiday with any family, I’d burst into tears. So I went to The Poodle Club! The dive bar on Lake Street, now long gone. It was very satisfying—just a plate of pretty awful turkey, potatoes, and stuffing next to a gin and tonic. It all had a very devil-may-care independence about it: If this is as bad as life gets, this is actually pretty great. So, my top Thanksgiving-out recommendations, for the Thanksgiving orphans: First, the bars.
The Dakota: One of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, but also a jazz club and a very homey place to go solo. They are opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, there will be live music at 7 from Davina and the Vagabonds, and you can order from their “Now and Later” menu till bar close. They’ll also be offering a turkey slider in honor of turkey day. I wouldn’t have a lot of hope for a turkey slider if it wasn’t that Jack Riebel, last year’s winner of our Chef Challenge, was making it. But I trust him!
The Park Tavern: Thanksgiving bowling! This is definitely for people who don’t want a lot of Thanksgiving feelings and family stuff cluttering up their life, and you get a free hour of bowling with your meal! $12.95 per adult, and beer is extra. It runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cooper: The Irish pub in St. Louis Park that’s part of the Kieran’s/Local empire is going to be open from 4 to 11 p.m. They’ll be serving a regular menu, and a special Thanksgiving turkey dinner for $12.99. I’ll also point out that it’s next to the splashy new Icon theater, the one that serves drinks! Maybe you want to make a day of it?
Next, the restaurants.
Cosmos: The fanciest, most elaborate white-tablecloth Thanksgiving in town is to be had at the downtown Minneapolis Graves 601 hotel, in the 4th floor restaurant Cosmos. Chef Hakan Lundberg is sort of a chef’s chef, because of his elaborate fine cooking; it’s $45 a person, and valet parking is free.
Firelake: The other Thanksgiving with a good reputation in town is the all-local one from downtown Minneapolis’ FireLake; Wild Acres turkey, wild rice stuffing, cheddar mashed potatoes—the works.
And if not one of those, check Open Table for the most comprehensive list of Thanksgiving offerings.
If none of the ones you want have spaces left, try the hotel Sofitel and its restaurant Chez Collette. They’re doing an elaborate buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $48 a person, and later, a simpler turkey dinner for $26 a person.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your turkey be moist, your relatives kind, and your memories only happy ones. Or at least funny ones!