15 Chain Restaurants That Will Be Open on Thanksgiving

If your idea of whipping up Thanksgiving dinner is making reservations, these chain restaurants will have you covered this Turkey Day.

If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner, you know it’s a lot of work. Not only does the prep and cooking feel like an exhausting three-ring circus, but then there’s the clean-up with which to contend. The benefits are clear—precious moments with family and friends, time-honored traditions, delicious food, and incredible leftovers. But, guess what? You can have all of this without the hustle by taking advantage of one of the many chain restaurants open on Thanksgiving in 2020. Keep in mind that Thanksgiving might look different in 2020 since we’re in the midst of COVID-19 and some restaurants may have certain precautions to abide by.

When you’re feeling the urge to hang up your apron, maybe just this once, give one of these institutions a try for a warm plate and great company without the fuss. Check with your nearest location of any given restaurant to make sure they are indeed participating. If you go, here are 13 things you shouldn’t do at reopened restaurants.

Applebee’s Grill & Bar

Casual and kid-friendly, most Applebee’s locations will be open on Thanksgiving, but you should always check with your local chain. Just as you might at home, wear your stretchy pants over for dinner! Here are 15 restaurants you didn’t know changed their names—including Applebee’s.

Golden Corral

As one of the restaurants open on Thanksgiving every year, Golden Corral advertises their Thanksgiving Day Buffet, and it looks like a not-to-be-missed feast. You’ve got all of the trimmings and absolutely no reason not to go back for seconds. Perfect for the brood with a hearty appetite. Before you go, make sure you know not to touch the sushi at all-you-can-eat buffets.


Dennys is one restaurant that never closes on Thanksgiving—or any day, for that matter. If you’d prefer to pick up your meal to go on Thanksgiving, some locations will even offer delivery, too. You’ll never guess what Denny’s was called when it first opened.

Marie Callender’s

Marie Callender's Files For BankruptcyKimberly White/Getty Images

With their year-round assortment of incredible pies, it only makes sense that Marie Callender’s is one of the restaurants open on Thanksgiving. Groups can either dine in at their nearest participating location or grab a feast to go, with five different menu options to choose from. If you decide to go the takeout route, keep in mind that each feast requires three hours of reheating time before it’s ready to hit the Thanksgiving table. Check out these 20 most-asked Thanksgiving questions, answered.

T.G.I. Friday’s

It’s unclear whether or not T.G.I. Friday’s serves up what one might consider a classic Thanksgiving meal on Turkey Day, but many locations do stay open on the holiday—just make sure you call and check your specific location first. And, hey, who wouldn’t mind making those rectangular mozzarella sticks a new Thanksgiving tradition? We’re in. These Thanksgiving vacation ideas will help you unwind after hosting.

Boston Market

Every day can feel like Thanksgiving at Boston Market, with its comforting menu of dishes reminiscent of the food-fueled holiday. With the option to either dine-in or carry out, the chain has a fabulous array of heat-and-serve options and à la carte items to make this year’s dinner a breeze (and delicious, too). Ordering is open now, so feel free to peruse the goods. Need a laugh? You’ll love these hilarious Thanksgiving help-line calls.


At first glance, Hooters might feel like an odd choice for restaurants open on Thanksgiving, but if your crew is all about football, then this option is the place to be. Take in all of the big games while dining on the chain’s infamous wings. Football is about as synonymous with this holiday as the dinner itself, so there’s still some tradition to be had here. Did you know Hooters used to have its own airline called Hooters Air?

Maggiano’s Little Italy

Thanksgiving at an Italian restaurant? Oh, yes. Maggiano’s presents family-style dinner offerings with all of the holiday classics you could possibly desire, like traditional roast turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, and more. Of course, there is still plenty of pasta to choose from and they do add an Italian twist to their dressing with a focaccia sausage stuffing. The whole experience is divine. If you’re making pasta at home, there’s a reason why you should start saving pasta water.

Cracker Barrel

Florida, Stuart, Cracker Barrel Old Country StoreJeff Greenberg/Getty Images

According to their website, Cracker Barrel is open for regular business hours on Thanksgiving, and they begin serving their traditional meal at 11 a.m. You’ll get their turkey n’ dressing, gravy, a sampling of sugar-cured ham, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins, a slice of pumpkin pie, and a beverage (if you’re dining in). Where do we sign up? By the way, pumpkin isn’t actually America’s favorite Thanksgiving pie. Can you guess what is?

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

What does a steakhouse know about turkey? In this case, a lot. Their three-course Thanksgiving feast serves up a soup or salad starter, oven-roasted turkey with sausage and herb stuffing, and three popular side dishes. End the meal with a dessert duo. If you’d rather dine on one of the dishes Ruth’s Chris is famous for every other day of the year, their full dinner menu is also available. Check out what your favorite Thanksgiving dish says about you.

Bahama Breeze

If you’d like to pretend you’re soaking up the salty ocean air this Thanksgiving, many Bahama Breeze locations are serving guests this holiday; check with your local chain to be sure they’re open. With an island-infused Thanksgiving menu, it’s like a vacation for your taste buds and away from holiday stress. Here are 11 feng shui tricks to help you beat holiday stress.

Buca di Beppo

With doors opening at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Buca di Beppo is another Italian restaurant open on Thanksgiving 2020. The chain is already taking reservations and online orders on their website and will feature a classic menu, featuring sliced white meat turkey, home-style gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spicy Italian sausage stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. For to-go orders, Buca di Beppo has two options—small (which feeds three people) and large (feeds six). No matter where you’re eating, you might want to avoid these conversation topics to steer clear of at Thanksgiving dinner.

The Capital Grille

Options abound at The Capital Grille on Thanksgiving Day. The restaurant will offer a classic turkey dinner and have their full menu available à la carte at select locations. Special Thanksgiving items include slow-roasted turkey with brioche stuffing, French green beans with marcona almonds and cranberry pear chutney, and a portion of mashed potatoes big enough for sharing. Stick around for dessert because the pumpkin cheesecake sounds divine. Reservations recommended.

Waffle House

Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Climate Of Anxiety And Changing Routines In AmericaMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

When you crave the comforts of something very familiar, Waffle House is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. So, yes, that also means Thanksgiving. No word on whether they will offer anything turkey-specific this holiday, but you can expect their regular full menu of all-American diner fare. Here’s the one surprising thing you’re not putting on waffles but should be.

Old Country Buffet

If buffet dining is your style, then you’ll be thrilled to know this Shangri-la of all-you-can-eat scrumptiousness is open for Thanksgiving. Next, check out how you can eat as much as humanly possible on Thanksgiving, according to science.