Whether you’re traveling alone or you and your family would rather just skip the Thanksgiving dinner preparation and prefer to dine out, there are several places in Iowa where you can have Thanksgiving dinner. You can always find some national chains open like Applebee’s, Perkins, IHOP and Cracker Barrel. However, you can enjoy a more intimate family atmosphere and often better food by visiting an independent, local restaurant.
We’ve put together this list of some Iowa restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal on Thanksgiving Day with or without your family. Many restaurants require reservations for Thanksgiving, so plan ahead if you visit one of these Iowa restaurants or any other Iowa restaurant that 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 on Thanksgiving Day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for USD 22.48 per person. The buffet features 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 and Hotel
AJ’s Steakhouse offers a three-course Thanksgiving meal for $55 per person and $18 for children. Each person has their choice of appetizer, which includes dishes like roasted butternut squash soup and shrimp cocktail. Main courses include turkey, filet mignon, pike-perch or a vegetable risotto. Save space in your belly for your very own Pumpkin Pie, 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 opens on Thanksgiving and features some of the most popular dishes and two Thanksgiving specials. The turkey dinner is $38 per plate and includes roast turkey breast with maple glaze, smoked turkey drumstick with herbs, cabernet cranberry sauce, popover with walnut and herb filling, potato wedges with cheese, turkey sauce and carrot almonds. The glazed spiral ham dish 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 also offers a Thanksgiving Day buffet from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. What’s included in the selection is kept top secret, but based on years past, you can bet you’ll see traditional holiday dishes like mashed turkey potatoes and pumpkin pie. Children under 5 years old are free and children over 10 pay around US$20. Children between 5 and 10 pay a reduced price. If you want to visit the buffet, you must do so Reserve online in good time or call 319-351-1904.
Mulligan’s Bar and Grill, Mason City
2791 Fourth St. SE
Mulligans in Mason City is known as a “Fun Spot” with “BIG Food!” and that will not stop on Turkey Day. From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., one of River City’s finest bars and grills will be serving turkey and/or ham for Thanksgiving dinner with all the sides! It’s $16.95 for dinner, but there are also pie slices for sale for an additional fee. Call 641-422-9888 to reserve a spot for you and your family.
Breitbach’s Country Dining, Balltown
563 Balltown Rd.
Located just a short drive northwest of Dubuque in Balltown, Breitbach’s Country Kitchen claims the title of Iowa’s oldest bar and restaurant. They are a buffet restaurant so rest assured they know how to put on a great Thanksgiving buffet. However, they are only open from 10am to 2:30pm, so it’s best to make reservations by calling 563-552-2220, especially if your party is larger than six people. The menu includes oven-roasted turkey, sage dressing, roast chicken, glazed ham, popcorn shrimp, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, a salad bar, and variations of your favorite pies and cakes.
Caddy’s Kitchen & Cocktails, Council Bluffs
Caddy’s Kitchen & Cocktails is known for its home-cooked American cuisine, craft beer, and laid-back vibe. There is also a buffet on Thanksgiving from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Prices range from $5 to $15, and kids under 2 eat free. Tasty offerings include soup, salad and fruit bars with butternut squash and broccoli cheddar soups. Sample turkey, ham and salmon at the carving station. Starters include salmon pesto and a variety of pasta dishes, and side dishes include mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole. Call 712-256-0070 for reservations and be sure to leave room for cheesecake, apple chips and bread pudding.
Robert’s Buffet, Riverside
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
Robert’s Buffet at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort is again offering its annual Thanksgiving Buffet from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm for $29.99 per person. The restaurant’s daily buffet is transformed into pure Thanksgiving magic. You won’t find a shortage of your traditional Thanksgiving favorite proteins, sides and desserts. Don’t worry about reservations, Robert’s is waiting for you.
Timmerman’s Supper Club, Dubuque
7777 Timmermann Dr.
Like many other restaurants open on Thanksgiving, Timmerman’s Supper Club hosts a Thanksgiving buffet for guests. Dinner is served from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Prices range from $9 for kids to $23 for adults, and kids under 2 eat free. Timmerman’s Thanksgiving Buffet features traditional dishes including turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green casserole and pumpkin pie. Call 815-747-3316 for reservations.
Yannis 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 hosts an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving buffet, but it offers Greek-style turkey, prime rib, and manicotti ala forno. Make sure you wear your stretchy pants because you won’t want to stop eating. Yannis is open from 11am to 2pm and reservation is required. You can reserve online or call 515-965-7802.
Caroline’s Restaurant, Dubuque
200 main street
you will find Caroline’s restaurant at the historic Hotel Julien in Dubuque. If you’re looking for an upscale Thanksgiving Day experience, Caroline’s is the place to be. They serve dinner from 11:30am to 8:00pm and have some delicious treats lined up. Guests can choose from a varied menu that includes butternut squash soup, cauliflower artichoke soup, turkey breast, salmon, prime rib and a butternut squash curry. Leave 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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