Why fight the crowds for that last pricey turkey in the supermarket freezer, that last dented can of cranberry sauce on the shelf?
All you have to do is be quick to order takeout or make reservations at your favorite restaurant.
WE’LL TAKE IT TO GO
Most restaurants serving dinner on Thanksgiving are happy to pack it up for you to take home.
But places dedicated solely to pickup and delivery are also making Thanksgiving dinner easier for everyone.
Lock ‘N Key, Englewood. Although still closed for remodeling, Lock ‘N Key will prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, $54 for two, $104 for four. Your choice of delivery or pickup at sister restaurant.
SandBar Tiki & Grille, 1975 Beach Road, Englewood. Place orders only at www.lockandkeyrestaurant.com by 3 p.m. Nov. 22.
Pitmasters All American BBQ, 2200 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte, 941-979-8805. Preorder full dinners Wednesday to Saturday between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., for pickup Thanksgiving morning.
Ristorante San Marco, 305 W. Venice Avenue, Venice, 941-254-6565. Preorder a full Thanksgiving dinner with an Italian twist, for 8 to 10 people, $225. Pickup Thanksgiving morning.
Café Evergreen, 801 Tamiami Trail S., Nokomis, 941-412-4334, has a take-and-bake meal for $18 per person. Order by Nov. 22, pick up Wednesday.
FREE FOR ALL
Joanne Murphy Anders grew up in a big Catholic family in Salem, Massachusetts.
“My mom had all us kids serve Thanksgiving dinners to those in need at the church, before we came home for our own dinner,” she said.
Joanne and her husband, Owen, continued the tradition at Englewood’s End Zone Sports Grille.
Since her husband died, Joanne Anders has continued and is now in her 10th year of giving back.
Beginning under previous owner Greg Lyons, The End Zone has put on a free turkey dinner, with all the trimmings, for anyone who needs it, for whomever doesn’t want to be alone, for the homeless or for anyone who just doesn’t feel like cooking — basically, anybody who wants to come.
The End Zone, 2440 S. McCall Road, 941-473-9663, will serve free Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day from around 11 a.m. until they run out, usually around 2:30 p.m.
Joanne Murphy Anders says you’re welcome to take dinner home, too.
Gulf Cove United Methodist Church, 1100 S. McCall Road, 941-697-1747, will serve free drive-thru Thanksgiving dinners from noon to 3 p.m. Just pull up to the drive-thru and state the number of dinners needed.
Wintergarden Presbyterian Church, 18305 Wintergarden Ave., Port Charlotte, is holding a community Thanksgiving Dinner at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 25. All are welcomed to join. Bring a dish to share if desired. For more information, call 941-743-5335.
RESERVATIONS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
As usual, if you don’t see your favorite listed, they might be booked solid, understaffed, or hoping you’ll call for reservations and information. Remember, you can always count on Asian restaurants, Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, Metro Diner and Perkins.
ENGLEWOOD AND BOCA
Artur’s Restaurant, 70 N. Indiana Ave., 941-473-0171.
Bella Vida, 480 E. Railroad Ave., Boca Grande, 941-855-9534.
Boca Royale Golf & Country Club, 1601 Englewood Road, 941-475-6464.
The End Zone, 2440 S. McCall Road, 941-473-9663.
Farlow’s on the Water, 2080 S. McCall Road, 941-474-5343.
The Hills Restaurant at Rotonda Golf & Country Club, 100 Rotonda Circle, 941-697-2414.
Landy’s on the Water, 1400 Aqua View Lane, 941-474-4292.
La Stanza Ristorante, 285 W. Dearborn St., 941-475-1355.
Leverock’s Restaurant, 7092 Placida Road, 941-698-6900.
Rum Bay Restaurant at Palm Island Resort, 7092 Placida Road, 941-697-0566, will hold its famous buffet.
SandBar Tiki & Grille, 1975 Beach Road, 941-460-8280.
Stefano’s Family Restaurant, 401 S. Indiana Ave., 941-475-0868.
The Waverly, 2095 N. Beach Road, 941-475-3500. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Family Table Restaurant, 14132 Tamiami Trail, 941-423-0473.
Olde World Restaurant, 14415 Tamiami Trail, 941-426-1155.
All-Star Sports Grill, 2360 Tamiami Trail, 941-743-4140.
Chubbyz, 4109 Tamiami Trail, 941-613-0002.
Cody’s Original Roadhouse, Port Charlotte Town Center mall, 941-629-2639.
Little Good Times Diner, 1932 Kings Highway, 941-625-1115.
Olympia Restaurant, 3245 Tamiami Trail, 941-255-3440, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PUNTA GORDA AREA
88 Keys at the Wyvern, 101 E. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda, 941-639-7700. Reservations required, noon and 2 p.m.
American Legion Post 103, 2102 Taylor Road, Punta Gorda, 941-639-5299. Serving ham and turkey dinners to the public, but only members may purchase alcohol.
Cass Cay Restaurant and Bar, 3200 Matecumbe Key Road, Punta Gorda, 941-347-7148.
The Celtic Ray Public House, 145 E. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, 941-916-9115. No reservations, no turkey, and a whole different kind of thanksgiving.
Dockside Grill at Four Points by Sheraton, 33 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, 941-637-6770.
Elena’s Restaurant, 615 Cross St., Punta Gorda, 941-575-1888.
Golden Corral, 1451 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, 941-639-1600. Turkey, ham and sides all day long on Thanksgiving.
Hemingway’s (formerly Blue Turtle), 139 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, 941-637-9477.
Mary Margaret’s Tea & Biscuit, 10 S. Polk Ave., Arcadia, 863-494-0615. Pre-Thanksgiving lunches with sides, $10.25 per person, noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Anita’s Restaurant, 441 S. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, 941-485-3859.
Burgundy Square Café, 227 W. Miami Ave., Venice, 941451-8261. For the first time, it includes the potential of lobster roll for Thanksgiving dinner. For a full dinner to go, from turkey to grouper and pot roast, order it before Thanksgiving. To dine in, reservations are required.
Café Venice Restaurant & Wine Bar, 116 W. Venice Ave., Venice, 941-484-1855.
Chaz 51 Steakhouse, 549 U.S. 41 Bypass N., Bird Bay Plaza, Venice, 941-484-6200. Reservations required.
Côté France, 218 W. Tampa Ave., Venice, 941-220-7189.
Da Vinci German Restaurant, 1080 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, 941-966-6347, will have a buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Flynn’s on Venice Avenue, 133 W. Venice Ave., Venice, 941-488-2200, noon to 7:30 p.m.
Hotel Venezia Restaurant & Bar, 425 U.S. 41 Bypass N., Venice, 941-308-7700, noon to 4 p.m.
Rosebuds Steak & Seafood House, 2215 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, 941-918-8771.
T.J. Carney’s, 231 W. Venice Ave., Venice, 941-480-9244.
Waterfrontoo Restaurant, 2205 N. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis, 941-918-4591.