New Spins on Old Traditions: Your Restaurant Thanksgiving Menu

Let me clear the air right now: I am not advocating that you break from standard Thanksgiving fare on your holiday menu. No, by all means, keep turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole right there, front and center on your menu. After all, you want your guests to still feel like they’re at home—just without all the hassle of cooking, cleaning, or traveling long distances in bad weather. Another thing you want them to avoid? The same holiday food they’ve been eating for years. These three new takes on old recipes will help your restaurant Thanksgiving menu bridge that gap between traditional and tantalizing. 

1. To Start: Pear, Prosciutto, and Hazelnut Stuffing

Remember Aunt Sally’s godawful Harvest Stuffing Surprise? Your guests do. Remind your diners why they made the right choice to dine out for Thanksgiving when you provide them with an amazing stuffing option. Your chef knows how to make a great stuffing, so tell him or her to add a unique twist by throwing in some French herbs (plus fennel), toasted and crushed hazelnuts, crisped prosciutto, and chopped bosc pears.

Want more ideas? You can get the exact recipe here.

2. On the Side: Cherry-Merlot Cranberry Sauce

Some people can’t get enough homemade cranberry sauce, some people just politely nibble—but no one wants to eat Great-Aunt Gladys’ Jelled Cranberry Delight, especially since they all saw her throw those canned cranberry sauce cans in the trash. This recipe combines the best of all worlds: cherries, cranberries, and heavy red wine. Your customers will ask for the recipe. And you should give them the recipe.

Need to start prepping in advance? Try this recipe to build off of.

3. For Dessert: Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Pecan Crust, Served with Whipped Bourbon Topping

Every one of your customers expects pumpkin pie. In fact, they all probably also expect pecan pie. After all, at their family gathering, their aunts and uncles have been gracing the holiday dessert tables with these items for years. Why don’t you exceed your guests’ expectations? On your Thanksgiving menu, present your customers with a rich pumpkin cheesecake on a crispy pecan crust—all topped with a luscious bourbon whipped cream.

Want some inspiration? Try this recipe for ideas.

If you’re worried about nut allergies, try splitting this into two options on one plate: a pumpkin cheesecake slice (with a ginger-apple crust), and a pecan pie. Top both with the bourbon cream, and allow guests to make substitutions as needed.  

Your customers know deep down that going out to eat on Thanksgiving is their most guilt-inducing luxury purchase of the holiday season. However, if you reward their choice with delicious reinterpretations of their lasting favorites, you may just win their hearts and their patronage for every holiday. Here’s to a Thanksgiving that you can be thankful for, too.

Photo licensed by Martin Cathrae