The Philadelphian’s Guide to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner

From perfect pies to plentiful sides to full-blown meals done just right, 20 ways to take the pressure off a Thanksgiving host.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and so is all the stress, drama and that terrible taste of failure that often comes with cooking a traditional dinner at home.

So, what do you do? We have the answer. Whether you’re just looking for a little bit of help with the side dishes, a local turkey for the center of the table, some nice pies to make everyone forget how you overcooked said turkey, liquor to deaden the sting of failure, or someone to just do all the hard work for you, you’ll find exactly what you need below.

Here’s our guide to making this one the most stress-free Thanksgiving ever.

If You Need: Dessert

Red Owl Tavern is celebrating its second annual Month of 1,000 Pies now through Thanksgiving. This means two things for you, intrepid holiday cook. First, that you can swing by the restaurant any time between now and November 24th to pick up a freshly made apple streusel or pumpkin pie for $12 each (two for $20), or call in an order and pick it up fast at their grab-and-go counter set up at the front. And second, that for every pie sold, Red Owl will donate a pie to Philabundance — which is an awfully nice thing for them (and you) to do during the holidays.

Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford, New Jersey, is the ultimate one-stop shop for all your Thanksgiving necessities. As a matter of fact, they’re SO confident that they’ve got you covered that they just call their place “Pieville” during the holidays, and offer more than a dozen kinds of pies with no pre-ordering required. Better still, they’re also stocking homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and three different kinds of bread. Oh, and the best thing? Pieville begins operations on Monday, November 21st, but runs all the way through Thanksgiving day, when they are open from 8 a.m. ’til noon.

Magpie Artisan Pies is backing you up again this Thanksgiving. They’ve got five pies on offer this season (caramel apple, chocolate coffee cinnamon pecan, lemon gingersnap, pumpkin, and their signature butterscotch bourbon), but here, you’re going to have to pre-order. They’ll be taking pie reservations up through 5 p.m. on November 19th, and pick-ups can be made between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on November 23rd. One thing to note, though: Magpie ain’t cheap. The pies run from $30 for the pumpkin, lemon and butterscotch bourbon to $38 for the caramel apple.

If You Need: A Turkey

Okay, so the Thanksgiving turkey — that’s the big one. And if, at this point, you’re still wondering about what to do and where to get one, we (and our friends over at Be Well Philly) have a bit of guidance.

Fair Food Farmstand
Reading Terminal Market, 51 North 12th Street, Center City, 215-386-5211, ext. 120.
Turkey types: turkeys and turkey breasts from The Howe Farm, non-GMO Bronze turkeys from Koch’s Turkey Farm, certified organic pastured turkeys from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and heritage breed Red Bourbon turkeys from Griggstown Farm.
Price per pound: Howe, $3.29 for whole turkey, $5.19 for breast; Koch’s, $5.19; Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, $5.99; Griggstown, $9.99.
Pre-order: Online from November 6th to the 17th with a $30 deposit; the deadline varies.
Pick-up: November 22nd or 23rd between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Godshall’s Poultry
Reading Terminal Market, 51 North 12th Street, Center City, 215-922-7589.
Turkey type: Organic free-range turkeys from Lancaster County.
Price per pound: $3.29.
Pre-order: November 1st through the 19th.
Pick-up: Anytime before November 23rd, during business hours.

Green Aisle Grocery
1618 East Passyunk Avenue, Passyunk Square, 215-465-1411; 11 West Girard Avenue, Fishtown, 215-309-3784 and 2241 Grays Ferry Avenue, Grays Ferry, 267-687-2398.
Turkey type: Hormone- and antibiotic-free turkeys from Green Meadow Farm.
Price per pound: $5.50.
Pre-order: Now through the 18th. Note: $50 deposit is required.
Pick-up: November 22nd.

If you’re looking for even more options, you can check out Be Well Philly’s full list of where to buy local turkeys this Thanksgiving right here.

If You Need: A Drink

Have you seen the lines at the Good Wine & Fine Spirits shop? Skip ’em and go the local route with spirits, beer or wine from one of these boozy go-tos.

Bluebird Distilling
100 Bridge Street, Phoenixville.

Heading to the PA ‘burbs? Stop off at this Phoenixville distillery and choose one of their fine spirits like their four-grain bourbon. Trust us: You’ll be happy to have it when your uncle brings up the election.

Cooper River Distilling
34 North 4th Street, Camden.

If family takes you to New Jersey, hop off the Ben Franklin and head to South Jersey’s first craft distillery. Their rums are always a welcome gift and their new brandy might be a fun thing to try.

43rd and Baltimore, West Philly.

Blow your family’s minds by showing up with a growler full of wine. Thanks to changes in the PA liquor code, bottle shops can now sell wine. Clarkville goes one better with wine in growlers. Fill your own, or grab a couple of their special wine growlers.

Bar Hygge
1720 Fairmount Avenue, Spring Garden.

Any brewpub will have beer to go, whether packaged or in growlers. At Bar Hygge, brewer Tom Baker’s beers have the advantage of pairing particularly well with food.

If you’re tickled by the thought of local spirits, check out the Foobooz Guide to Philadelphia-Area Craft Distilleries.

If You Need: It All Done for You

We’re not here to judge. Just to help.

Bread and pies from High Street on Market

Anadama, a staff-favorite interpretation of a classic New England sandwich bread made with whole wheat, corn and molasses ($10)
Ancient Grains, a seeded multi-grain bread showcasing Pennsylvania-grown heirloom grains ($7)
Buckwheat Cherry, earthy, nutty and pleasantly tart, perfect with mild cheese or as a component of stuffing ($7)
Genzano, an airy, rustic Italian-style sourdough ($6)
Keystone Ground, a versatile whole wheat bread made entirely from Pennsylvania-grown and milled grains ($10)
New World Rye, a deli-style rye studded with caraway seeds that makes fantastic croutons ($8)
Roasted Potato, a soft, buttery bread ideal for grilled cheese and French toast ($8)
Malted Pumpkin Pie, roasted heirloom pumpkin and rye malt for a twist on the classic Thanksgiving dessert ($25)
Apple Streusel Pie, Three Springs Farm apples with cider caramel and streusel topping ($25)

Ordering details:
Order by Sunday, November 20th at 3 p.m. for pickup on Tuesday, November 22nd at:
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Rittenhouse Farmers Market
After 2 p.m.: High Street on Market

Order by Monday, November 21st at 3 p.m. for pick-up Wednesday, November 23rd at:
After 2 p.m.: High Street on Market
3 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Passyunk Farmers Market

Call 215-625-0988 or email

A complete vegan meal from Miss Rachel’s Pantry

Cost: $26 per person.

Complete meal includes:
Pastry-wrapped Harvest Roast: a hearty roast made with seitan, white beans, sage, rosemary and garlic, wrapped in tender homemade pastry and served with truffled shiitake gravy.
Brussels sprouts roasted with carrots, caramelized leeks, kale and parsnips
Yukon gold mashed potatoes
Sweet and savory brown sugar and cranberry bread stuffing

Gluten-free options:
Maple and sage glazed tempeh-lentil roast with truffled shiitake gravy
Brussels sprouts roasted with carrots, caramelized leeks, kale and parsnips
Yukon gold mashed potatoes
Sweet and savory brown sugar and cranberry rice stuffing

Order online by Saturday November 19th; pick-up on Wednesday, November 23rd from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Alternates and additions to the complete meal listed above:
Seitan Harvest Roast with Gravy ($48)
Pastry-wrapped Harvest Roast (made with seitan, white beans, sage, rosemary and garlic, wrapped in a tender pastry) and a quart of truffled shiitake gravy.
Tempeh-Lentil Roast with Gravy (Gluten Free) ($48) (4 servings)
Maple and sage glazed tempeh-lentil roast. Served with 1 quart of truffled shiitake gravy, gluten and nut free.
Quart of Buttery Mashed Potatoes ($15)
One quart of (vegan) buttery mashed Yukon gold potatoes, gluten and nut fee
Quart of Truffled Shiitake Gravy ($15)
One quart of our delicious truffled shiitake gravy. Made with a little coconut cream for richness, black pepper, onion and garlic. Gluten and nut free.
Holiday Cookies ($12)
Dessert Breads ($14)

Condiments and sides from Condiment Philadelphia

Thanksgiving Condiment Pack ($20) includes:
16-ounce turkey gravy or vegan mushroom gravy
8-ounce cranberry sauce
4-ounce herb butter
4-ounce salted butter

Thanksgiving sides:
16-ounce portion (serves four people), $6 or three for $15
Twice baked potatoes
Rosemary sweet potatoes
Curry carrots
Vegetable medley
Corn spoon bread
Mashed potatoes
Herb stuffing
Green beans
Buttermilk biscuits

Ordering details:
Place order by Monday, November 21st; call 215-574-7698.

Everything you need from Percy Street Barbecue

Choose either:
Option 1, $75: 15-pound smoked turkey (it’s smoked and cooked through so it just needs to be reheated) served with homemade gravy and Cranberry Sauce

Option 2, $225: A whole Thanksgiving dinner for six to eight people, featuring:

15-pound smoked turkey
Homemade gravy
Cranberry sauce
Sausage and cornbread stuffing
Mashed sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows
Collard greens
Baked apples
Pecan Pie

Extra gravy or cranberry sauce, $7
Mac and cheese, $45
Key Lime or Pecan Pie, $35
Buttermilk chive cornbread, $25

*For every turkey sold, Percy Street Barbecue will donate a turkey to a local food bank.

Ordering details:
Order online by Wednesday, November 16th; pick-up Wednesday, November 23rd from noon to 5 p.m.

The whole shebang from Ela

Full Thanksgiving dinner for $225 for five to seven people.

Choose an entrée:
Spice-brined turkey breast
House-ground sausage-stuffed turkey thighs

Roasted chestnut sage and bacon stuffing
Gnocchi with butternut squash, ricotta and hazelnuts
Smoked salted caramel glazed sweet potatoes
Charred Brussels sprouts with black pepper and pecorino
Classic roast garlic country mashed potatoes
Cranberry sauce gravy
Dulce de leche pumpkin pie

Ordering details: 
Order by Sunday, November 12th; pick-up Wednesday, November 23rd. Call 267-687-8512 or email

If You Need: Somewhere to Eat That Isn’t Your House

Okay, let’s just say that you don’t WANT to spend days securing and cooking the various elements that lead up to an epic Thanksgiving feast. Let’s say that you’d like to, I don’t know, actually enjoy the day without the stress and complications of creating anything more complicated than a gin and tonic. Isn’t it nice to know that there are still a bunch of hard-working professionals out there willing to do all the heavy lifting for you?

If you’re looking to just have a nice Thanksgiving dinner out, here are some places to start looking:

The Twisted Tail

Noon to 10 p.m., $47 per person

Choose one entrée:
Roasted Lancaster Turkey
Herb Crushed Prime Rib
Pineapple Glazed Ham
Honey-BBQ Glazed Salmon

Sides, served family style:
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Baked Beans
Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Cornbread Stuffing

Choose a pie:
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Apple Pie

London Grill

2 to 7 p.m., $45 per person includes soup, buffet, dessert (half price for kids under 11); or there’s a $25 platter available at the bar that includes five items, soup and dessert.

Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup
Greens Salad, Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette or Balsamic Viniagrette
Roasted Turkey
Apple Cider Glazed Ham
Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing
Herbed Vegetarian Stuffing
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
Green Bean Casserole
Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Collard Greens with Bacon
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Rutabaga Mash
Cranberry Sauce
House Made Turkey Gravy

Choose from:
Sweet Potato Pie
Pumpkin-Ricotta Pie
Apple-Cherry Pie


Noon to 8 p.m., $49 per person, $15 for children under 12

Oven Roasted Free-Range Organic Turkey
Creamy Potatoes
Cranberry Walnut Stuffing
Green Beans
Baby Carrots
Roasted Butternut Squash
Homemade Gravy
Orange Cranberry Chutney

Special Holiday Desserts ($10)
Homemade Apple Pie, Vanilla Ice Cream
Pumpkin Pie, Whipped Crème Fraîche
Pecan Pie, Caramel Ice Cream

Children under 12 years ($15)
Oven Roasted Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy

Tomorrow’s Turkey Sandwich ($13)
Oven Roasted Turkey, Stuffing, Orange Cranberry Chutney, Gravy

Urban Farmer

Noon to 9 p.m., $75 per person

Charcuterie for the Table, rillette, sopresetta and country pork terrine

Choose one appetizer:
Castelfranco and Kale Salad with fried cauliflower and butternut squash vinaigrette
Seared Foie Gras with Asian pear, cabbage, and spiced black walnut ($10 supplement)
Chestnut Soup with black trumpets and ‘nduja fritter

Choose one entrée:
Roasted Traditional Turkey and Gravy
Prime Rib with shallot-thyme jus
True Cod with eggplant-olive puttanesca

Family-style sides:
Cornbread Turkey Stuffing with sage and tart cherry
Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes with crème fraiche and chive
Cider-Braised Heirloom Squash with spiced baked apple and frisee

Choose one dessert:
Milk Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cake with caramel ice cream
Pumpkin-Pecan Tart with nutmeg sabayon
Caramel Poached Pear with whipped ganache and chocolate sorbet

The Little Lion

12 p.m., cocktails and light bar menu; 2 p.m., Thanksgiving dinner in dining room; $39.95 per person

Choose one entrée:
Roasted turkey with gravy
Smoked ham with honey-bourbon glaze
Braised short rib with horseradish cream
Grilled ribeye (+$6) with garlic balsamic wild mushrooms and onions and chive butter
Blackened catfish with garlic cream sauce

Choose three sides:
Kale Caesar salad
Lion salad
Roasted butternut squash soup
Charred brussels sprouts
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato hash
Five cheese macaroni and cheese
Cranberry sauce
Buttermilk biscuits
Cheddar grits and greens
Roasted carrots

Choose one dessert:
Egg Nog Cheesecake
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding