Take-home Thanksgiving turkeys gaining popularity

Thanksgiving is just a week away, and that means friends, family and food.

If you’re looking forward to eating a big Thanksgiving meal this year but don’t feel like cooking, you don’t have to. Many restaurants in Ottawa are offering take home turkey dinners, including Chances R

“For us it’s huge. It’s probably one of the busiest weekends of the year,” says owner Mike Bouris. “We’ll do about 1,200 turkey meals. Over Christmas we do it as the whole turkey, but over Thanksgiving we sell it on an individual basis.

Selling out of these meals is quite common every year. 

“Traditionally it’s been dine-in,” says Bouris. “So instead of everyone coming to the house and having dishes and all that, they come and dine in. Definitely more takeout now, so that’s a new thing for us, trying to balance the two. Filling the restaurant, plus also doing a couple hundred takeout meals in the same night.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” says Kathy who was on her way in for lunch at Chances R. “Myself, it’s just my husband and I. We don’t want to cook a great big dinner. This sounds like a fantastic idea.”

The ready-made, take-home Thanksgiving meal has become popular over the last few years with families looking to save time. 

“Turkeys are 12 per cent more expensive than last year,” says Sylvain Charlebois, the director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. “Why not look at buying a turkey already cooked in advance? Save the energy, save the time, save the grief.”

A lot of places have already sold out, or stopped taking orders, but at Fitz's Classic Grill, they say they will take as many orders as possible until Friday night.

“We have one for two people. We have one for four people,” says co-owner Donna Reid. “Because of COVID, people are at smaller numbers and they don’t want to go though all the hassle of preparing that meal. Because with all the trimmings it could be costly.”

They say the convenience of their pre-cooked meal is something their customers look forward to every year. 

“The community really appreciates it,” says Reid. “Especially even if you’re just a person of one, a person of two. People don’t want to spend that time cooking that dinner. Taking the whole time in their day to prepare it.”

For those who are still undecided, don’t wait too long, these birds are going fast.