If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Go to a Hotel on Thanksgiving

We're thankful for dinner!

Written by Chris Chamberlain
If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Go to a Hotel on Thanksgiving
Mane & Rye Thanksgiving Dinner; Photo credit: Hutton Hotel

Whether you’re traveling to town to visit family over Thanksgiving or hosting some buddies for a “Friendsgiving,” this time of year can get a little stressful. Cooking a turkey can be one of the most time-consuming and nerve-wracking exercises you can ever attempt in your home kitchen, not to mention the side dishes and desserts. So. Many. Pies.

The holidays shouldn’t add stress to your already frazzled life, so fortunately there are some intriguing solutions offered by Nashville restaurants, specifically hotel eateries. Hotels realize that many of their guests over Thanksgiving are away from home, either for business or as part of a vacation trip to Music City. Their guests often want a little slice of home (and pie) to help celebrate Turkey Day, and the chefs at these properties are happy to oblige. They also welcome locals that want to enjoy a holiday meal without having to dig up the gravy boat out of the basement or clean up after the culinary orgy is over.

Heck, by the time you figure in your time and the cost of all those ingredients and kitchen utensils you only use once a year to prepare the Thanksgiving meal, it may even be less expensive to dine out instead. You can always buy a turkey sub and a can of cranberry sauce from Publix on Saturday if you’re craving leftovers. So throw away your footlong shopping list and check out this list of hotels offering a full feast for Thanksgiving. Be sure to save room for pie!

The 21C Museum Hotel in downtown is home to a fantastic restaurant named Gray & Dudley, plus it offers the added benefit of doubling as a modern art museum so that you can take a little gallery tour around the building before or after your big meal. Chef Rob Newton is extremely talented at combining Southern fare with international elements and flavors, but he’s going straight ahead traditional with the Thanksgiving dinner he has planned for the big day.

Platters will be pre-set with snacks like deviled eggs and country ham followed by a choice of entrees between either turkey or ham. They’ll also offer vegetarian options as well. Traditional sides for the table include green beans, carrots, brussel sprouts and savory cabbage with Benton’s bacon. Finish off your meal with toffee pudding of sweet potato cheesecake. Call (615) 610-6460 for reservations or book on OpenTable.

Another intriguing boutique hotel is right in the middle of Midtown at the Hutton. Their fun lobby restaurant is called Mane & Rye Dinerant, positioned as a cross between a diner and a more upscale restaurant. (We’re already fans!) For just $55 per person (and $27 for kids 12 and under,) Mane & Rye will offer a three-course prix fixe menu of classic seasonal favorites at both lunch and dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

Their menu is filled with delicious dishes including entrees such as traditional Honey-Roasted Tennessee Turkey; Ora King Salmon with fingerling potatoes, or Vegetarian Pot Pie with roasted root vegetable and caramelized onion gravy. Shareable side dishes include Cornbread Turkey Stuffing with sage and tart cherry, Red Bliss Smashed Potatoes with chives and crème fraiche and Roasted Fall Squash with pear butter, sage and candied pecans.

The cost of the dinner includes non-alcoholic beverages, but you’re certainly welcome to add a little holiday cheer from their wine, beer and cocktail menu. Seatings are available from 12 – 8 pm, and a credit card guarantee is required for all reservations.  Reservations can be made via OpenTable or by calling Mane & Rye Dinerant directly at (615) 340-0012.

In the Gulch, Marsh House has emerged as a local favorite on the ground floor of the classy Thompson Hotel. The restaurant is known for their inventive takes on Gulf Coast cuisine, and Executive Chef Nathan Duensing has managed to combine some fun seafood elements into his four-course prix fixe menu for Thanksgiving. They’ll be offering the feast all day long from 11 am until 8 pm for $54–$78, depending on main course you choose. The first course features delicacies like Shrimp Toast with sweet chili sauce or Lamb Ribs with stewed tomato, feta cheese and pine nuts. Follow that up with your choice of a couple of salads, a bowl of squash bisque or Duensing’s acclaimed gumbo. (Really, there’s no choice. Get the gumbo!)

The main course presents some really difficult decisions between a traditional Heritage Breed Turkey dish with pan gravy, Trout Meuniere with jumbo lump crabmeat, Garlic Herb Crusted Mahi Mahi, a Grilled Ribeye with chili chimichurri or or a Grilled Cauliflower Steak with sofrito and marcona almond crumbs. Hopefully your table is big enough to order them all and share. Side dishes are sized for sharing, so you won’t have to worry about getting to try them all from a selection of cornbread dressing, roasted root vegetables, sweet potatoes, greens and cranberry relish.

Marsh House will also offer a half dozen different desserts to pick from, but we’ll keep them a secret so that you can still have a little surprise for Thanksgiving. For reservations, please visit https://www.opentable.com/r/marsh-house-nashville or call (615) 262-6001.

The 404 Kitchen isn’t technically in a hotel anymore since they moved from their tiny original space to a much larger building across the street, but they still understand the unique Thanksgiving needs of both locals and guests. Chef Matt Bolus is a big fan of The Big Green Egg, the outdoor cooker/grill that has created a legion of supporters, so he’s planned a holiday meal around meats prepared on the ceramic smoker.

The meal will be served off a festive buffet including a carving station featuring delectable Bourbon Brown Butter Smoked Turkey Breast, Baked Spiral Ham and Smoky Filet of Beef with Creamy Horseradish. The rest of the buffet will be heaped with delicious accompaniments for your meal, so keep a good grip on your plate!

The will also host a Thanksgiving raffle to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Raffle tickets can be purchased by those guests enjoying the Thanksgiving feast for $10. The winner of the raffle will take home a Big Green Egg of their own. Josh Beckerman, The Foodie Magician, will also be in house performing his mentalist magic for guests.

For a bargain choice, head down to  Makeready Libations & Liberation at Noelle in downtown near Printer’s Alley. Their three-course feast is just $38 and includes a choice of small plate appetizers, deep-fried turkey or glazed ham as a main course and four different pie options for dessert. Hold your seat at the table by calling (615) 610-7835 or by visiting the restaurant’s website.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving at one of these hotel restaurants and you can start your post-meal nap in the Uber on the way home!