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Where to eat on Thanksgiving day if you don’t care about turkey

Escape the traditional holiday menus at these Tampa Bay restaurants.
Diners at Yummy House in Tampa.
Diners at Yummy House in Tampa. [ Times (2018) ]
Published Nov. 21, 2019

Plenty of restaurants offer Thanksgiving-themed menus for those seeking a little holiday nostalgia without the kitchen elbow grease. But turkey isn’t for everyone. If you’re in the mood for something other than the traditional holiday spread, here are several restaurants that will be open in the Tampa Bay area on Thanksgiving Day. From Brazilian rodizio to Chinese hot pot, there’s nary a green bean casserole in sight. For all of these, making reservations in advance is recommended.

If you’re in the mood for ...

Jerk chicken

The Jerk Hut

The local favorite for spicy, smoky jerk chicken and pork also serves a selection of Jamaican and Caribbean classics like brownstew chicken, braised oxtail, curry goat and coco bread. Multiple locations.

A good steak

Beau & Mo’s

Yes, there is a special Thanksgiving dinner menu. But the “Chicago-style” steakhouse is also serving its regular spread of pastas and aged, char-grilled steaks, including a massive, 42-ounce tomahawk chop. Top it with a lobster tail, because it’s the holidays, after all. 2924 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 771-3690.

Peking duck

Yummy House China Bistro

While it’s more of a Christmas tradition for some, the Hillsborough location of this restaurant is staying open for lunch on Thanksgiving Day. If you’re looking to get your fix of spicy Hunan beef, cashew chicken or Peking duck, this is the place to go. 2620 Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. (813) 237-3838.

All-you-can-eat Brazilian rodizio

Terra Gaucha

Get your fill of Brazilian churrasco-style grilled meats — including lesser known specialty cuts like picanha, the crispy, grilled sirloin cap — plus sides like pao de quejo (Brazilian cheese bread), polenta and caramelized bananas. 1108 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 999-4332.

Thai food

Thai Rama 9

From warming tom yum soup and fiery papaya salad to noodle dishes and filling curries, there’s a good selection of Thai specialties and family-style options to share at this spot near the beach. And who needs pumpkin pie when there are Thai-style doughnuts served with crushed peanuts and condensed milk, and coconut ice cream sundaes topped with fried bananas? 17807 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores. (727) 391-0309.

Hot pot

Nine Spices Hot Pot

There’s no telling what the weather will be like on Nov. 28, but there’s no better way to warm up than with a spicy bowl of hot pot. Choose from several soup bases then take your pick from the add-ins on the tableside conveyor belt, ranging from lamb brisket and pork belly to mushrooms and fish balls, among others. 6851 66th St. N, Pinellas Park. (727) 350-3772.


Salt Rock Grill

Chilled shellfish towers, grilled oysters, smoked tuna dip and a long selection of fresh catch-of-the-day entrees abound at this Indian Shores mainstay. For carnivores, the shareable bone-in tomahawk steaks and porterhouse cuts are served with baked or mashed potatoes. 19325 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores. (727) 593-7625.

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Pho Kien Giang

This Pinellas Park restaurant is home to steaming bowls of pho, vermicelli noodle dishes (bun), stir-fried rice plates and plenty of chef’s specialties, including Vietnamese-style caramelized spareribs and do-it-yourself spring roll platters. 8730 49th St. N, Pinellas Park. (727) 544-1393.


Curry Leaves

Mulligatawny soup, chicken tikka, butter chicken, lamb vindaloo and malabar curry are just a few of the Indian specialties available on this restaurant’s encyclopedic menu. Order plenty of tandoori roti and naan bread to soak up all those delicious sauces. 4843 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 319-4014.