If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of preparing a turkey dinner, you can be thankful for our many dining establishments open on Thanksgiving Day.
Many restaurants in South Walton and Destin will be open and stand ready to accommodate your desire for the traditional, or not-so-traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The Sun reached out to several restaurants and these are some of the options.
Elephant Walk: On Sandestin's beach side, the Elephant Walk hosts its first Thanksgiving feast buffet-style. Executive Chef Mike McAnulla will create the menu featuring of more than 25 dishes, from southern cornbread dressing and a variety of salads, to sweet potato casserole and fresh autumn vegetables, to classic pumpkin pie and more. The buffet will be served from noon to 7 p.m. for $34.95 for adults and $16.95 for children, tax and gratuity not included. Reservations are recommended. Call 267-4800. Walk-ins will be accepted on availability but cannot be ensured. Visit www.elephantwalkatsandestin.com. for more info.
Sandestin bayside: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort will host Thanksgiving brunch at its Linkside Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with an assortment of seafood, sides, salads, oven-roasted turkey and a variety of desserts, as well as traditional favorites. The brunch will also feature a southern shrimp and grits station, a gumbo station and an assortment of cakes, pies, cookies and a banana’s foster flambé station. Reserve by emailing email@example.com or call 267-6398.
Café Thirty-A: The restaurant is offering a sit-down four-course Thanksgiving Day dinner with all the extras from noon to 4 p.m. Choose from deep-fried turkey, lamb shanks, gulf grouper, or filet mignon. Adults $50 (excluding tax and gratuity). There will also be a children’s menu, $15. To-go orders are available to serve six for $160. Pies are $25 each. Call 231-2128.
Bud & Alley’s: As is tradition, Seaside's Bud & Alley's, The Pizza Bar, and Taco Bar will be closed Thanksgiving Day. But that evening, Bud & Alley's roof deck bar will open at 4:30 p.m. for sunset enjoyment until 8:30 p.m.
Great Southern Cafe: Across the road, Great Southern Cafe will offer a traditional Thanksgiving Day buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $26 for adults and $12 for ages 10 and under. Reservations are encouraged at 231-7327.
WaterColor: The resort is offering Thanksgiving brunch at its Lake House on the north side of 30A from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a cost of $65 for adults and $30 for children 12 and under. A 4-course dinner is offered at Fish Out of Water on the Gulf from 4-8 p.m. at a cost of $60 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Or, takeaways for 10 are available for $350. Takeaways must be ordered by Nov. 25 and may be picked up Thanksgiving Day in the lobby bar between 10 a.m. and noon. Reservations for the sit down meals are recommended at 534-5050.
Stinky's: The eatery will be open Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 267-3053 for reservations.
Marigny: The Marigny on E. Hewett Road is offering a Thanksgiving Day buffet with two seatings at noon and 3 p.m. by reservation only. Their regular menu will not be offered. They are offering deliveries of a Thanksgiving meal that will serve eight. Call 622-9101.
Solaris: The Solaris dining yacht will host a Thanksgiving Day cruise on the Choctawhatchee Bay with a traditional buffet with all the trimmings at two seatings: noon to 2 p.m., and 6 - 8 p.m. Adults $58; children 3 – 10, $35; and infants under 3, $20. Call 650-2519 for reservations.
Cuvee Bistro: Open from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. for annual Thanksgiving Buffet. Early reservations are recommended. Adults are $35, children under 9 $16. Visit Cuvee Bistro online at www.cuveebistrodestin.com for the complete Thanksgiving menu visit or call 850-650-8900.
O'Quigley's Seafood Steamer: O'Quigley's will open from 11 a.m.-close and will feature a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans, and cranberry. Dinner is $16.99. The regular menu is also available. For more information call 850-837-1015 or visit www.oquigleysseafoodsteamer.com.
790 on The Gulf: Open from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., serving a traditional Thanksgiving menu Gulfside. Reservations are recommended. Visit 790 on The Gulf on the web at www.eatmoregumbo.com, or call the restaurant at 850-650-4853.
Ruth's Chris: Ruth's Chris will also be open Thanksgiving Day and serving a sizzling turkey breast with cranberry sauce for $25, with a children's menu also available for $12.95. Dinner will feature traditional sides and an a la carte menu will be available from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5 - 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Call 850-337-5108 or visit www.ruthschrisdestin.com.
Ocean Club: The Ocean Club, located at the entrance to Tops'l Beach & Racquet Resort, will be serving Thanksgiving dinner from 12 - 8 p.m. The menu will feature traditional Thanksgiving favorites, as well as rack of lamb, prime rib, grouper and a special kids menu. Call 850-267-3666 to make reservations or visit www.theoceanclubdestin.com.
Marina Cafe: Marina Cafe will be serving Thanksgiving Day dinner from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. The menu will feature roast turkey, duck and ham, as well as all the trimmings. Prices are $36 for adults and $16 for those 12 and under. For reservations call 850-837-7960 or visit www.marinacafe.com.
Booked solid: The Vue on 30A and Fire are serving, but they are booked.
Dine for free: However, if your Thanksgiving desires fall on the altruistic bent, Harbor Docks in Destin welcomes the community to its free Thanksgiving Day dinner. Yes, free. It's a 19-year tradition benefiting Okaloosa Habitat for Humanity and Destin Harvest from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Harbor Docks invites family, friends, locals and tourists to come and enjoy a traditional, home-style Thanksgiving Day meal. Charles Morgan III, owner of Harbor Docks, partners with Okaloosa Habitat for Humanity and Destin Harvest to serve the feast. Morgan covers the cost, while raising awareness and funds for the non-profit organizations. AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar will donate ham for the event while The Donut Hole will provide dessert. There will be table service with plated food and a cash bar. Okaloosa Habitat for Humanity and Destin Harvest contribute 200 volunteers to cover every position in the restaurant. Harbor Docks employees will also be on-site to assist. Donations are accepted and payable to Okaloosa Habitat for Humanity or Destin Harvest. Last year the annual Thanksgiving event fed more than 1,500 people and raised more than $20,000 with 100 percent of donations going directly to local needs. To volunteer for this event email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for details on available times.
The options are plentiful this Thanksgiving and there is no need for anyone to be alone on this day. Happy Thanksgiving!