Thanksgiving Turkey. Photo by Andrea Goh.

Don’t Feel Like Cooking? You Can Go Out for Thanksgiving Dinner


Maybe you’re traveling and don’t have access to an oven. Or maybe you do have an oven but you don’t have the time or desire to slave for 18 hours in the kitchen over a turkey. You can still have a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner without having to put in all the behind-the-scenes work.

If you’re in Boulder this Thanksgiving, there are many locals chefs eager to serve you. You might be surprised by how many restaurants are actually open on Thanksgiving day. Dining out and skipping the dishes is in high demand.

Here are some of the best places to get a Thanksgiving dinner cooked for you in Boulder in 2017. Make sure you reserve your spot right away.

Dining Hall
Entering into Chautauqua’s Dining Hall. Courtesy Photo.

Chautauqua Dining Hall

The Chautauqua Dining Hall, at the base of the foothills, is one of our top picks for a memorable Thanksgiving meal. The restaurant has a special Thanksgiving menu with all of the classics: apple-spiced butternut squash soup, apricot deviled eggs, salad made with local veggies, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with whipped cream or apple pie.

Chautauqua also offers some fun, less expected menu options for Thanksgiving: beet and carrot latkes with smoked salmon and horseradish cream, maple elk sausage-stuffed pork tenderloin on sweet potato hash, roasted trout, chocolate bourbon pecan pie five-layer chocolate cake, and cranberry swirl cheesecake.

While the food is amazing, the best part of this restaurant is its location. After stuffing yourself, you have easy access to the trailhead of one of Boulder’s favorite hiking trails with views for days.

The Greenbriar has its own pastry chef. Photo by Aimee Heckel

Greenbriar Inn

The Greenbriar Inn, just north of Boulder at the other edge of the foothills, offers two Thanksgiving options. A Thanksgiving Day buffet and a Thanksgiving Eve turkey dinner.

The evening dinner is served the day before Thanksgiving, on Wednesday, Nov. 22. (So you can celebrate early and hit the ski resorts Thursday or hey, do Thanksgiving twice. We don’t judge.) It includes turkey, of course, plus desserts. The Greenbriar’s regular menu is also available. Some seasonal temptations include a pumpkin agnolotti (roasted pumpkin, maple, candied pecans and sage beurre noisette), Chai Compressed Apple (butternut squash, medjool dates, blue cheese and sage emulsion) and maple leaf duck breast with heirloom squash, cranberries and caramelized honey.

The Thanksgiving Day buffet features a chef-carved turkey with gravy, pumpkin bisque with rosemary espresso crema, green bean casserole, maple-glazed sweet potatoes with candied pecans, stuffed acorn squash, cranberry sauce, festive pies (apple, pumpkin, pecan) and some other less traditional indulgences, like cedar plank roasted whole salmon, prime rib, cheese and charcuterie, a flourless chocolate torte, creme brûlée and shrimp cocktail. Reservations are required and run between 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The Boulderado mezzanine.
The Boulderado mezzanine. Courtesy Photo

Hotel Boulderado

This historic hotel downtown offers a Thanksgiving buffet on the mezzanine from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Bonus: Children under 3 eat for free.) The buffet is everything you want for a Thanksgiving meal and more: chef-carved roasted turkey with cranberry-pomegranate relish, potatoes and gravy, winter squash tossed in pumpkin seed butter and the classic, a house-made green bean casserole with crispy onion strings.

Other highlights: grilled beef tenderloin medallions, seared Scottish salmon, red bean risotto cakes. There are vegetarian options, too, including vegetarian cornbread stuffing and oven-roasted sweet potatoes with maple sugar dressing topped with marshmallows. Mmm. But that’s not dessert. For dessert, you can choose from a long list of treats like an orange-pistachio creme brûlée, gluten-free chocolate lava cake and, of course, pumpkin pie and apple pie. Oh, and a S’mores station.

Ted’s Montana Grill

Editor’s note: Ted’s Montana Grill in Boulder has closed.

Ted’s offers a special Thanksgiving Day Menu with a roast turkey feast with gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, herb dressing, carrots, a squash casserole, cranberry sauce and apple pecan crisp. There’s a kids menu, too, with turkey, dressing and a cookie.

You can also order from the regular menu, which includes burgers, salads, soup, crab cakes and some interesting offerings, like bison nachos and bison pot roast.

Dish Gourmet

Dish Gourmet, a deli on the east side of Pearl Street, offers several prepared Thanksgiving meals for take-out. There are a variety of options and meal sizes to choose from. Get a turkey prepared and ready to cook, or a pre-cooked, roasted, carved turkey and fixin’s ready to reheat.

The food here includes the classics: rolls, cranberry sauce and a list of yummy pies including gluten-free options and cherry vanilla. Mix and match to make the meal that meets your Thanksgiving needs.

First Presbyterian Church of Boulder

The First Presbyterian Church in Boulder serves up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to people “in need of good fellowship and a home-cooked meal” on Thanksgiving Day. The meal is prepared by volunteers and served to anyone who needs a community on the holiday. The annual event runs 1-3 p.m. and typically serves more than 300 homeless and local families in need. All in all, the dinner has 191 volunteers, 40 pounds of pie and more than 30 turkeys. It’s free to people in need.

Other Boulder Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving

  • Boulder Chophouse and Tavern
  • The Corner Bar & Cafe
  • Jill’s Restaurant at the St. Julien
  • Kasa Japanese Grill
  • Spruce Farm & Fish
  • Yellow Deli

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