More restaurants offering Thanksgiving meals to-go

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As the number of coronavirus cases rises around the region and more restrictions on gatherings go in place, many people are choosing to cancel their big family Thanksgiving get-togethers. But several local restaurants are making sure everyone can still have a traditional Thanksgiving meal without all the work.

“It’s a lot of preparation and a lot of work,” Leonardo’s Café Executive Chef and General Manager Jason Chick said. 

Preparing a full Thanksgiving dinner for a large family is a daunting task, but it may be more difficult to put in the effort when only a few people will be gathered around the table to enjoy it this year.

“We’re hearing a trend from a lot of people who want something smaller, we want something intimate and we don’t want to go through all of the work knowing that our family can’t be with us,” Holiday Inn City Center Sales Director Nichelle Lund said. 

From a family of two to a family four, local restaurants believe these smaller family groups deserve a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional meal. 

“They literally get a home-cooked style meal, they just take it home, and everything is set to the same temperature, they pop it in the oven and they pull it out like Thanksgiving Day and get to experience the same thing,” Chick said. 

This is the first year Leonardo’s Café at the Washington Pavilion is offering a take-home holiday meal.

“As the covid numbers go up there’s a lot more people who want food that they can just bring home and heat up and keep it simple,” Chick said. 

“We want it to be just like your traditional Thanksgiving, just a little bit different, like everything else this year,” Lund said. 

The Holiday Inn City Center usually has a large Thanksgiving buffet with 400 up to 1,000 reservations in a single day. This pandemic year they’re still offering a dine-in option to a limited number of reservations, but they’re also adding individual to-go plates for a full Thanksgiving meal.

“We do know some people are delivering it to loved ones,” Lund said. 

Giving families a chance to celebrate together, even when they’re apart.

Many Sioux Falls area restaurants added to-go Thanksgiving options this year, but reservations for the to-go dinners are filling up fast. Leonardo’s is still taking Thanksgiving orders through Tuesday at noon and reservations for the Holiday Inn’s dine-in or to-go Thanksgiving must be made by Wednesday afternoon.

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