Second Helpings: Home Away From Home: Dining Out for Thanksgiving

Tips on where to dine out on Thanksgiving Day

"Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were updated by Virginia B. Wood. When you need quick, reliable info on Austin eateries, check here.

The Cafe at the Four Seasons

98 San Jacinto, 478-4500

Breakfast: Monday-Friday, 6:30-10:30am; Saturday-Sunday, 7-10:30am

Lunch: Monday-Saturday, 11am-2pm

Brunch: Sunday, 10:30am-2:30pm

Light Fare: Daily, 2pm- 6pm

Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, 6-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 6-11pm

Every aspect of the Cafe lifts it a cut above other hotel restaurants. Thanksgiving dinner here has become so popular, they're presenting two of the hotel's signature sumptuous buffets to accommodate diners. The buffet in the Cafe itself will run from 11am until 8pm at a cost of $52 for adults, $20 for children 6-11, with kids 5 and under eating free. There will also be a buffet in the downstairs ballroom foyer which will run from 11am until 4:30pm. The foyer buffet will be $45 for adults, $18 for children 6-11, and free for kids under 5. Reservations are a must.

Ancho's

Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, 476-3700

Seventh & Brazos

Breakfast daily, 6:30-11am; Lunch daily, 11am-2pm; Dinner daily, 5:30-10pm

This attractive dining room benefits from its location in the hotel's dramatic atrium lobby, making it an interesting place to eat as well as people-watch. A Thanksgiving buffet with all the traditional trimmings will be presented from 11am until 2:30pm at a cost of $32.95 for adults, $19.95 for teenagers, and $9.95 for kids. Reservations are suggested. Dinner will be available at the regularly scheduled hours that evening, with Thanksgiving specials on the menu.

La Vista

Hyatt Regency Austin, 477-1234

208 Barton Springs Road

Sunday-Thursday, 6:30am-11pm; Friday-Saturday, 6:30am-midnight

La Vista bills itself as the "Fajita Capital of Texas," and they've got the goods to back up their claim. If someone in the family prefers fajitas to a more standard holiday meal, this could be the place to go. Those in your party who follow the more traditional path, however, will be pleased to note the hotel is offering a turkey and dressing entrée on the menu for $15.95. Reservations are not necessary.

Driskill Grill

Sixth & Brazos, 474-5911

Breakfast daily, 6:30-11am

Lunch, 11am-2pm; Dinner, 5:30-10:30pm; Sunday brunch, 11am-2pm

The stately grand dame of Austin hotels will welcome locals and travelers alike this Thanksgiving with a lavish holiday brunch buffet on the hotel's mezzanine with seating times from 11am until 3pm. The buffet will feature an omelet station, a waffle station, various carving stations, and a seafood display as well as traditional Thanksgiving favorites. Cost for the buffet is $48 for adults and $24 for children under 11. There will be a cash bar and live piano music from Pat Griffin. Reservations and pre-payment are necessary (391-7162). Later that day, Thanksgiving dinner will be served in the Driskill Grill from 5:30-10pm, with chef David Bull's holiday specials augmenting the regular menu.

Onion Creek Grille

Omni Hotel Southpark, 448-2222

4140 Governor's Row (Ben White & I-35)

Daily, 6:30am-2pm; 5-10pm

This pleasant South Austin dining venue attracts a hungry business lunch crowd with an affordable menu with Texas, Southwestern, and Cajun/Creole influences. They'll celebrate Thanksgiving with a huge brunch buffet with everything from an omelet station to a carving board loaded with roast turkey, ham, and prime rib of beef. Traditional holiday side dishes will be featured along with an array of cold salads, pies, cheesecakes, and an ice cream sundae bar. Adults will receive one complimentary glass of champagne or a Mimosa. The cost is $23.95 with a 20% discount for senior citizens, half-price for children 3-12, and kids under 3 eat free. Call to make reservations at 383-2626.

Star Canyon

Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, 391-1550

701 Congress Ave.

Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11:30-2pm; Dinner, Sunday-Wednesday, 5:30-10pm, Thursday-Saturday, 5:30-11pm

Star Canyon will be serving their regular dinner menu on Thanksgiving Day from 5-10pm in case you're hungry for Southwestern fare after a long day of football watching. Chef Ron Brannen's special holiday meal will be an a la carte offering of Cajun-fried Turkey with smoked oyster stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, bourbon yams, three bean casserole, and cranberry relish for $18. If you're still hungry after all that, selections will be available from the delicious fall dessert menu. Reservations are available.

Threadgill's

301 W. Riverside, 472-9304

Monday-Thursday, 11am-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-10:30pm; Sunday, 10am-9:30pm

6416 N. Lamar, 451-5440

Monday-Saturday, 11am-10pm; Sunday, 11am-9pm

Threadgill's has been Austin's Thanksgiving home away from home for many years, and this year will be no exception. From 11am-10pm on Thanksgiving Day, the friendly staffs at both locations will be serving up a limited holiday menu featuring many of your favorite Threadgill's dishes, their great vegetable sides, plus plenty of good pies for dessert. The price is right, and reservations are not necessary.

Hoover's Cooking

2002-C Manor Road, 479-5006

Monday-Friday, 11am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-10pm

Why spend hours working in a hot kitchen when Hoover Alexander is putting on a special $11.95 holiday menu this Thanksgiving? Choose from roast turkey, Cajun pork roast, jerk chicken, or smoked beef with Caribbean fruit salad, cornbread dressing, rolls, your choice of their delicious vegetable side dishes, and a tempting array of pies and cobblers. The restaurant will be open from 11am-7pm Thanksgiving Day, and you won't need reservations.

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