Tradition dictates that one must spend nearly an entire day at the grocery and another in the kitchen stocking up on cranberries, stuffing a turkey and pulling apart a pumpkin. Once you’ve enjoyed the fruits of your labor, it’s time to clean up what seems to be an endless trail of dishes. Don’t let that force you to stay home this Thanksgiving. These five restaurants from around the Tampa Bay area will remain open during the November 22 holiday and several plan to propose special menus and prices for the night. Please note that before choosing a location, it’s best to “let your fingers do the walking” by calling ahead to confirm seating availability.
2117 E. 7th Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605
Don’t let the name fool you – Columbia Restaurant bases its cuisine on Spanish, not Colombian, culture. This landmark, often cited as the oldest restaurant in Florida and the world’s largest Spanish restaurant, has kept its doors open since its inception in 1905. For Thanksgiving, the restaurant will stay open during its normal Thursday hours from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and offer its normal menu items in addition to a special, traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $21.95. The dinner includes carved turkey with stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, caesar salad, other sides and of course, a Spanish twist for dessert – pumpkin flan! The staff highly encourages reservations, as Thanksgiving happens to be among the restaurant’s busiest days of the year.
603 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
Cruise fans can enjoy a mini-vacation for Thanksgiving without having to venture too far from home. The Yacht StarShip will provide two trips that day, one that boards at 11 a.m. and cruises from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and a second that boards at 2:30 p.m. and cruises from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. On board, the crew will serve a Thanksgiving buffet that will include turkey, mashed potatoes and the other traditional sides. However, StarShip also plans to change things up with a carved top round of beef, chick breast stuffed with spinach and parmesan and mahi-mahi cooked in a cognac sauce. Refreshments can be sought at a cash bar and a live DJ will provide entertainment on board as guests cruise by Tampa’s scenic downtown and Channelside entertainment areas. The cruise costs $44.95 per adult and $29.95 per child, plus tax and gratuity.
Related: Best Autumn Desserts In Tampa Bay
Marchand’s Bar & Grill
Renaissance Vinoy Resort
501 5th Ave. N.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
For an elegant twist inside another historic Bay Area landmark, visit Renaissance Vinoy Resort’s Marchand’s Bar & Grill. The sumptuously decorated dining hall will offer a special, four-course Thanksgiving meal from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. While the manager stated that the exact details had not been finalized at the time of press, in years past the meal included soup, salad, main and dessert courses. Those tired of turkey can choose beef and fish options for the main course. As realtors say, “location, location, location,” and to dine in this one, it will cost you $52 for adults and $18 for children.
1805 E. 7th Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605
If other restaurants’ prices and attitudes rub you the wrong way, the festive Gaspar’s Grotto in Ybor City will offer a more accessible and fun option for everyone. To continue its traditional “Orphans of Ybor” dinner, this year’s Thanksgiving will include all the classics such as turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. This feast is served buffet-style and is all you can eat, so save plenty of room earlier in the day. What’s more, the Grotto will host live entertainment and offer its wide range of beers, wines and liquors for the pleasure of the masses. No price had been fixed at the time of press, but head chef Craig said it should be “$15.95 or less.”
Bon Appetit Restaurant
150 Marina Plaza
Dunedin, FL 34698
With unparalleled views of the water, Bon Appetit provides another ideal location to celebrate Thanksgiving. The restaurant will offer two different meal options on Thanksgiving: a buffet upstairs in the ballroom from noon until 6 p.m. for about $50 (including gratuity and tax) and a four-course meal in the downstairs dining room from noon until 9 p.m. for about $55 (all-inclusive). The lengthy list of offerings for the buffet include ahi tuna, pâté, marinated mushrooms, cauliflower, eggplant, shaved roast beef, mussels, edamame, a variety of pastas and sauces, all the traditional Thanksgiving sides, desserts and much more. The four-course meal will include a butternut squash and corn bisque or fresh fruit, a special holiday salad, several decadent options such as snails, salmon, shrimp, crab and lobster (for an additional price), a main course of ham, salmon, filet mignon, turkey or pork loin steaks and finally, classic pumpkin pie or chocolate mousse for dessert. The full menu can be viewed on Bon Appetit’s official website.
Aaron Phillips has experience in marketing and journalism. Recently back to his hometown, he’s excited to discover and share what Tampa has to offer. His work can be found at Examiner.com.