Lonely Thanksgiving: Where to eat that doesn't involve turkey
Editor's note: Thanksgiving. A time for the entire family to gather around the table, smiling and laughing over a golden turkey as if life is just one big Publix commercial. Fortunately, some people actually get that experience. But many others don't. Maybe you and your family live in totally different states. Maybe you just don't have a family. Maybe you have chosen a family of friends. Or maybe you just don't want to talk to your family at all.We got you covered. All week, we're bringing you our Guide to Lonely Thanksgiving. Our critics and writers have offered their best advice for going the holiday alone, from TV to reading to eating out. It doesn't have to be a pity party. If you do it right, you can be thankful for your solitude, too.
There are years that it must be boycotted. Years where green bean casserole and the slices of wobbly canned cranberries must be eschewed entirely. So where do you go if you don’t want to be reminded of Pilgrims, etc.?
2620 E Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. (813) 237-3838.
This branch of the original is in a much more glamorous freestanding building on a slightly bedraggled stretch of Hillsborough Avenue. In a beautiful, airy dining room, there are stylish bamboo sculptures, a long central bar and a hip red and black color scheme. They also offer dim sum cart service at lunch — and on Thanksgiving they are open only for lunch — a rarity in these parts, as well as luxurious and authentic Chinese dishes from steamed lobster in ginger sauce to salt-and-pepper tofu. yummyhousechinabistro.com.
365 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 734-9226.
What doesn’t say Thanksgiving extra hard? Chips and salsa. This 23-year-old fave started with 65 seats, then seven years ago went to 150, which was still never enough on a busy Saturday night. So they busted through the adjoining building, adding more seats and a big wrap-around bar and communal tables, all of it festooned with folkloric art from Guanajuato and Michoacan. Owners Tina and Javier Avila are warm and community-minded, but the restaurant’s enduring appeal centers around the lively, veggie-friendly Mexican cuisine (now complemented by a serious tequila and mescal list). casatinas.com.
Bascetti’s Italian Grille
1568 Main St,, Dunedin. (727) 738-2808.
But then this happens: You find someone with whom to share an orphan Thanksgiving but, nice as they are, they are traditionalists and want turkey with all the trimmings. Jimmy Stewart (a different Jimmy Stewart) is doing customary Thanksgiving fare from 1 to 8 p.m. on the big day (butternut squash bisque, cinnamon butter mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin cream bread pudding, yada yada, for $19.95 per person). But then he’s also offering a special blood orange-lacquered roast duckling with accouterments for $25.95, in addition to offering the rest of his regular menu. Oh, and one last thing: For $9.95 you can take home a leftover kit of Thanksgiving goodies. bascettisitaliangrille.com.
1327 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 247-1785
This bar, restaurant, cafe and art-and-music venue — with adjoining skateshop – is brought to us by the same people who opened Skatepark of Tampa. The Bricks inhabits an old brick building — formerly the home of Tahiti Joe’s and Denali Cafe, among others — where inside, exposed brick walls form around characteristic archways, complementing light wood furniture and a copper-painted ceiling. They open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with DJ Qeys setting the mood, drink specials and revelry that those early English colonialists might not entirely be down with. (But there are seasonally appropriate good deeds: If you bring four cans for the can drive, you get a free drink.) thebricksybor.com.