I know that part of the Thanksgiving tradition is to gather in the kitchen and cook with your family. And on TV and movies they make this look so warm and loving.

When in real life it’s 5 or 6 annoying female relatives stuffed in a sweltering kitchen for hours preparing a giant coma-inducing meal that is gobbled up (pun intended) in two minutes flat. Then the entire family become couch potatoes the rest of the day feeling full and miserable. Why not just go out to eat?

No annoying mother/mother-in-law in your ear telling you the “right” way to stir the gravy or season the turkey. No husband barking orders from the couch with the football game blaring in the background and no children chasing each other with turkey innards. Instead, picture a quiet civilized meal where you and your entire brood show up, food is served to you, (and booze I might add) while a professional chef prepares the Thanksgiving menu of your dreams. Best part—you don’t do any of the clean-up. If this sounds like heaven to you, here are my top 5 picks for a Thanksgiving Day dinner in Austin. Don’t worry, your kids will enjoy these picks too!


  1. The Driskill Hotel: Dine in the quintessence of Austin luxury at the Driskill Hotel. Celebrate a Thanksgiving tradition in their historic mezzanine or enjoy a five course dinner with family style sides in the Driskill Grill.
  2. Hyatt Lost Pines: For the ultimate Texas-style holiday, join the Hyatt Lost Pines for a family friendly celebration. On top of their Thanksgiving buffet, the resort also offers an array of kids activities including: holiday-themed arts and crafts, kiddie train rides, story times, teen poker night and much more.
  3. Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill: If you’re in the mood for something a little more low-key and very Austin-y check out Moonshine’s Thanksgiving Day buffet. An all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving feast with no reservations necessary. First come, first served at $24.95 a person.
  4. Hoover’s: Visit this east Austin gem for a Texas sized farm fresh meal for under $20 a person or reserve an entire meal to pick up and take home. (Pretend you cooked it yourself!) 
  5. Alamo Drafthouse: If dinner and a show is more your speed, join Alamo Drafthouse Ritz for its Thanksgiving showings of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. According to Alamo, this is the one and only classic Thanksgiving movie. Join them at a 4:45 pm or 7 pm for your holiday meal or post-turkey treat.

Other noteworthy restaurants include:

:: Would you ever consider eating out on Thanksgiving? ::


  1. Are you kidding me? As a person who has left many family Thanksgiving dinners to rush to work to serve yours, or sped home to see the last of my family members filing out (after I got off working the Thanksgiving day shift), this is offensive. As a blog and group of moms that professes to support women and family, let me tell you that many of the people who are working at the restaurants you mentioned (and I know some of them personally) are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sons, and daughters who will MISS their own families because they HAVE to be there to serve yours. The fact that you’re encouraging it is sad. We don’t want to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, but managers have to staff for busy shifts, and we have to show up when scheduled, like it or not. The more people continue going out to dinner on these days, the less those of us in service spend time with our own children, mothers and grandmothers on holidays: it’s wrong. If this blog/group really exists to build-up families and women, STOP going out – to eat or shop – on holidays (no matter how annoying your MIL, messy your kids, and loud your husband)!

  2. Erin, I have obviously missed something. You chose a service that does require its employees to work when others are playing and enjoying their families. If I choose to eat out for a holiday event I expect the wait staff to be pleasant. If people refuse to eat out then guess what? I don’t need the number of staff and you don’t get paid. I worked for 30 years in law enforcement and never did enjoy my family on holidays and weekends. I worked while others played but that was the job I chose. Just be glad you have a job or find one that gives you off weekends and holidays.

  3. Erin, you are obviously burned out on the hospitality industry and it’s time to find a new job. Like you, I spent many years working on holidays, serving others, and I enjoyed it. When I stopped enjoying it, I found other employment. Many, many people work on holidays, from first responders to convenience store clerks. I appreciate the work that they all do, and I think it’s actually insulting to deliberately avoid a business because they choose to open on a holiday.

    Marissa, thanks for providing this list. For the first time in a long time, we are going out for Thanksgiving, and it will probably be to Hoover’s or Hyde Park. I am hopeful that Erin won’t be our server.


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