A home meal away from home: Some places are open to help accomodate and to feed a large group

Sunday, November 20, 2011
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Turkeys are in the roaster, dressing is in the oven, cranberry sauce is chilling in the refrigerator and the staff begins arriving at 6 a.m.

This early morning isn't the schedule for most households on Thanksgiving morning, but for Blake Ackman and his family, it's a normal Thanksgiving day routine. Ackman has owned and operated Delmonico's Steakhouse for more than 25 years. Opened on the holiday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Delmonico's Steakhouse in Jackson will provide customers a place to dine if they don't have enough room at their home or cannot prepare the amount of food needed for all their guests.

"This will be our first Thanksgiving in our new building since we moved in December 2010," Ackman said. "Our three banquet rooms will be opened to one large room that can accommodate up to 400 people.

"Since my parents opened the restaurant in 1985, we have been open for Thanksgiving. We are one of the few local restaurants that can provide arrangements for families and parties of 20, 30 or more people. We do not charge for our banquet facilities and our full buffet and regular menu will be available."

Delmonico's Steakhouse will provide a full buffet on Thanksgiving that consists of turkey, fried chicken, dumplings, mashed potatoes and more in addition to their standard menu which offers a variety of steaks.

"Even though we cannot cater an entire Thanksgiving meal, we can fill orders for side dishes by the pound or kettle beef by the gallon," Ackman said. "Those orders are consistently coming in daily."

General Manager of Ryan's Steakhouse in Cape Girardeau, Jim Jones, said for a lot of his customers it is usually a budget and time decision.

"People today, in general, don't cook as much as they used to," Jones said. "It can be cheaper to eat out than preparing a large meal for a large amount of people."

Though it has been a corporate decision to be open on Thanksgiving since the restaurant opened in Cape more than 19 years ago, Jones said it wouldn't make sense to not be open and available.

"Restaurant's help fuel communities," he said. "Not only will we see large families, but we will also have a lot of travelers and passers-by."

Adding their contribution to this Thanksgiving's dining options, for the first time, will be Ray's Plaza Conference Center. Owner, Ray Ressel, said his customer's constant requests and questions prompted his decision to host an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving Day buffet in his 750 seat banquet center.

"We have had such success with our Mother's Day and Easter dining options that people started asking about Thanksgiving," Ressel said.

In addition to the buffet of carved meats, casseroles, vegetables and desserts, family style takeouts are also available in group sizes of 10 to 30 people. Group orders will be accepted up till the day before Thanksgiving.

"Our reservations are coming in nicely and I can see our option appealing to families and groups of all sizes," said Ressel.

Many families have weekend-long activities so having additional dining choices that allows for extra time with family members and less stress can be appealing to some.

"Dining at a local restaurant on Thanksgiving was convenient, fun and good," said Cape Girardeau resident, Brian Matthews.

"We had multiple family functions and plans all weekend so it was nice for everyone to sit down together to eat and not worry about cooking or cleaning," he said.

"However," he added, "don't be disappointed when there isn't any leftovers at home."

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