Whether you are going it alone or you and your family would rather simply skip the hoopla of preparing Thanksgiving dinner and go out to eat, you will find several places in Iowa to enjoy dinner on Thanksgiving. You can always find some national chains that are open like Applebee’s, Perkins, IHOP, and Cracker Barrel. However, you can enjoy a more intimate family setting, and often better food, when you visit an independent, local restaurant.
We put together this list of some Iowa restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal with or without your family on Thanksgiving Day. Many restaurants require reservations for Thanksgiving, so make sure to plan ahead if you head to one of these Iowa restaurants or another Iowa restaurant you know will be open on Thanksgiving Day.
16th Avenue Grill, Cedar Rapids
3130 16th Avenue SW
The locally owned and operated 16th Avenue Grill is offering a Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for $22.48 per person. The buffet includes traditional Thanksgiving favorites, including oven-roasted turkey, carved ham, sage dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and more. Call 319-261-1249 for reservations.
AJ’s Steakhouse, Altoona
Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack, & Hotel
AJ’s Steakhouse is offering a three-course Thanksgiving meal for $55 a person and $18 for children. Each person gets their choice of starter, which includes items like roasted butternut squash soup and shrimp cocktail. Main course choices include turkey, filet mignon, walleye, or a vegetable risotto. Save room in your belly for your own personal pumpkin pie, an apple Napoleon, or AJ’s Chocolate Fantasy Cake. Reservations are not required but are strongly recommended. Call 515-957-3535.
Main + Abbey, Sioux City
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Main + Abbey will open on Thanksgiving and will offer a few of its most popular dishes and two Thanksgiving Day special features. The turkey dinner is $38 a plate and includes maple-glazed roasted turkey breast, an herb-coated smoked turkey thigh, cabernet cranberry sauce, a walnut and herb stuffing popover, cheese-whipped potatoes, turkey gravy, and carrot almondine. The glazed spiral ham entree includes all the same sides and is also $38. Call 712-226-7610 for reservations.
Iowa River Power Restaurant, Coralville
501 1st Ave.
The Iowa River Power Restaurant is also offering a buffet on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are being hush-hush on what’s included in the spread, but based on past years, you can count on seeing traditional holiday items like turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Kids under 5 are free and those over 10 pay around $20. Kids between 5 and 10 pay a discounted rate. If you plan on visiting the buffet, you need to make reservations ahead of time online or call 319- 351-1904.
Mulligans Bar and Grill, Mason City
2791 Fourth St. SE
Mulligans in Mason City is known as a “fun place” with “GREAT food!!” and that won’t stop on Turkey Day. From 11 a.m.- 2 p.m., one of River City’s finest bar and grills will serve up turkey and/or ham Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings! It costs $16.95 for dinner, but they also have pie slices for sale at an additional charge. Call 641-422-9888 to reserve a spot for you and your family.
Breitbach’s Country Dining, Balltown
563 Balltown Rd.
Located a short drive northwest of Dubuque in Balltown, Breitbach’s Country Dining claims the title of Iowa’s oldest bar and restaurant. They are a buffet restaurant, so you can be sure they know how to do a great Thanksgiving buffet. However, they are only open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., so it’s best to make reservations by calling 563-552-2220, especially if your party is more than six people. The menu includes oven-roasted turkey, sage dressing, broasted chicken, glazed ham, popcorn shrimp, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, a salad bar, and varieties of your favorite pie and cake.
Caddy’s Kitchen & Cocktails, Council Bluffs
115 W. Broadway
Caddy’s Kitchen & Cocktails is known for its homemade American fare, craft beers, and laid-back atmosphere. On Thanksgiving day, they are also holding a buffet from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Prices range from $5 to $15, with kids under 2 eating free. Some of the scrumptious offerings include their soup, salad, and fruit bar with butternut squash and broccoli cheddar soups. Try some turkey, ham, and salmon at the carving station. Entrees include salmon pesto and various pasta dishes, and sides include mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole. Call 712-256-0070 for reservations and make sure to save room for cheesecake, apple crisp, and bread pudding.
Robert’s Buffet, Riverside
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
Robert’s Buffet at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort is once again offering its annual Thanksgiving buffet from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for $29.99 per person. The restaurant’s everyday buffet will be transformed into pure Thanksgiving magic. You will find no shortage of your favorite traditional Thanksgiving proteins, sides, and desserts. Don’t worry about making reservations, Robert’s is waiting for you.
Timmerman’s Supper Club, Dubuque
7777 Timmerman Dr.
Like many other restaurants open on Thanksgiving, Timmerman’s Supper Club is hosting a Thanksgiving buffet for guests. They will be serving dinner from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Prices range from $9 for kids to $23 for adults and under 2 eat free. You will find traditional fare on Timmerman’s Thanksgiving buffet, including turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green been casserole, and pumpkin pie. Call 815-747-3316 for reservations.
Yanni’s Grill & Vineyard, Ankeny
410 S. Ankeny Blvd.
If you live in the Des Moines area, head to Yanni’s Grill & Vineyard for a slight twist on Thanksgiving favorites. This area staple is hosting an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving buffet, but it features Greek-style turkey, prime rib, and Manicotti ala Forno. Make sure to wear your stretchy pants because you won’t want to quit eating. Yanni’s is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and reservations are required. You can make reservations online or call 515-965-7802.
Caroline’s Restaurant, Dubuque
200 Main St.
You will find Caroline’s Restaurant at the Historic Hotel Julien in Dubuque. If you are looking for an upscale Thanksgiving Day experience, Caroline’s is the place. They are serving dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and have some delicious treats lined up. Guests can choose from a varied menu that includes butternut squash bisque, cauliflower artichoke soup, turkey breast, salmon, prime rib, and a butternut squash curry. Save room for pumpkin pie or pecan pie with maple bourbon whipped cream. Call 563- 588-5595 for reservations.
By Jessica Lee
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