Operators serve up all the right stuffing

Operators serve up all the right stuffing – restaurant marketing for Thanksgiving; includes related article

Peter O. Keegan

Operators serve up all the right stuffing

In an effort to drum up traffic, operators around the country are creating special menus for Thanksgiving Day.

Rather than spending the day watching the bird cook, mashing potatoes and dreading the inevitable cleanup, more and more Americans are looking for alternatives to making the traditional meal at home.

Restaurateurs from coast to coast are targeting consumers with everything from unique variations of Thanksgiving favorites to traditional buffets featuring turkey, stuffing and vegetables.

The Four Oaks restaurant in Los Angeles is turning turkeys inside out for its Thanksgiving celebration.

Chef Peter Roelant will stuff turkey breasts on the outside to provide a roasted bread outer crust, while cranberries, garlic, shallots and basil form a special chutney layer between the meat and the crust.

Following last year’s initial success, Greenville, S.C.-based Ryan’s Family Steak Houses will be serving its Mega Buffet, Thanksgiving-style.

“When we were closed in the past, managers were required to come in and check the coolers,” explained vice president Randy Hart. “We were flooded by reports from managers that the phones rang off their hooks from the moment they walked in until they left. So we figured, `Why not?'”

The Portman Grill in San Francisco will serve dishes of southern France alongside traditional American favorites.

Chef Fred Halpert’s French menu features roasted Provencal turkey with caramelized vegetables and date puree, duck sausage and chestnut dressing, mashed potatoes Mausanne, and gratin of sweet potatoes.

Louis Osteen, owner of Louis’s Charleston Grill, will give thanks for finally being able to open his restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina’s historical district.

“Hurricane Hugo delayed the opening, but luckily there was no damage,” reported Osteen, who hopes to attract new patrons with his Thanksgiving menu.

First courses include gratin of McClellanville crabmeat and Puerto Rican sweet potatoes, Clemson blue cheese souffle, Smithfield ham braised with Chardonnay and smoked rabbit and wild mushrooms on black pepper brioche.

Entrees will include roast American wild turkey with giblet gravy and cornbread dressing; roast leg of lamb stuffed with autumn nuts, fruits and herbs; and whole baby snapper stuffed with shrimp, crab and scallops.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles’ Biltmore hotel is chauffeuring in the holiday with a bird-to-go package.

Each Turkey-To-Go meal includes stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, cornbread, pumpkin pie and a cooked 10-pound bird (for $80) or a 20-pound bird (for $105). For an extra $52, The Biltmore will deliver the meal anywhere within a 30-mile radius, via limousine.

Beverly Hills’ Yanks restaurant will serve its third annual Thomas Jefferson Feast.

The $27 dinner features authentic dishes derived from menus served at the third American president’s Monticello, Va., home. Featured appetizers will be butternut squash soup, broiled oysters with Champagne and a wild-game pate of venison rabbit and pistachios with cranberry-bourbon relish.

Main courses include prime rib, fish, roast suckling pig with winter fruit chutney and roast turkey with wild mushroom stuffing and Madeira sauce.

Entrees will be served with apple cider-sweet potatoes, minted peas and braised celery with almonds.

The Bridge Cafe, located in a 188-year-old New York landmark site near the Brooklyn Bridge, is offering a complete $29.95 meal with a view.

Besides the traditional roast turkey with orange, pecan and fresh sage stuffing, chef John Hesse’s entrees include a pumpkin broth seafood stew with shrimp, sea scallops, monkfish and mussels; grilled New Zealand venison with Zinfandel sauce and fresh cranberries; and crisped Norwegian salmon with braised fennel and Pernod.

At New York’s Greener Pastures, vegetarian diners can eat a special Thanksgiving meal. Last year hundreds flocked to the vegetarian buffet of sweet potato pies, lasagnas, pastas and assorted salads.

Customers can sip giant cranberry margaritas along with their Thanksgiving meal at the Cafe Iguana in New York. A week-long menu special features rock cornish game hen stuffed with chestnuts and wild cranberry mole as well as pumpkin flan.

More than 2,100 people are expected to gobble down Thanksgiving dinners at Larison’s Turkey Farm Inn in Chester, N.J.

General manager Louise Blaine reported that lines start forming at 10:30 a.m. and sometimes the wait for a table can be over three hours. The 250-seat New Jersey landmark restaurant and former turkey farm has been around since 1947, and two-legged Toms still roam the premises.

The $17.95 meal includes turkey, dressing, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, turnips, creamed onions and an assortment of pies for dessert.

At the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, patrons can order their turkey and carve it, too.

Chef Reto Demarmels will prepare a complete roast turkey for parties of eight or more, and it will be brought to the table to be carved by the head of the family.

A bounty of appetizers, salads, soups, side dishes and pastries will be available at a Thanksgiving buffet.

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