COVID-19 forces local restaurants to change plans this Thanksgiving, offer carryout options

Posted at 7:34 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 19:34:21-05

CINCINNATI — Tri-State restaurants are developing new ways to keep bringing in business this holiday season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Between holiday parties and family holiday meals, many dine-in establishments rely on the holidays to push them financially through the end of the year. That’s why some restaurants have chosen to pivot to take-home and to-go family feasts.

Jose Salazar, owner and chef of Goose & Elder in Over-the-Rhine, came up with a Thanksgiving to-go family meal after the success of a similar offering for Mother’s Day.

“Mother's Day was the first time we did this sort of family meal carryout,” said Salazar. “We did quiches at Mother’s Day, and it was hugely popular, and we said, 'well, why not try it again at Thanksgiving?' And we’ve already sold a good amount of them.”

Customers placed orders for his take-home meals, which include macaroni and cheese, stuffing, gravy, salad, turkey, cranberry sauce and creme brûlée and chocolate cake for dessert.

“I think people are just happy to have someone cooking Thanksgiving and they don’t have to do the cleanup,” said Salazar.

Salazar said the preorders have been so successful, he already is planning a Christmas menu.

To keep track of Goose & Elder’s to-go options and upcoming take-home menus follow the restaurant on social media.

Eddie Merlot’s in Montgomery is also offering a Thanksgiving take-home family feast. The menu includes turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and more items.

“This meal that we are doing isn’t just for a family of 10 or 12,” said regional corporate chef Terry Davidson. “We are also doing this for families where there may just be two people at home or four people. We can take care of any meal for every person in the family.”

For the first time, the high-end steakhouse also has created a holiday entertainment menu so families can bring home the Eddie Merlot experience all season long.

“The whole world has changed. Everyone is doing to-gos, and it's actually a little bit enjoyable to be able to have people take our stuff home and enjoy our quality,” said Davidson.

Call 513-489-1212 to place a Thanksgiving to-go order, and to look at the menu go to

Just down the road in Symmes Township, staff at deSha’s American Tavern turned the restaurant’s front driveway into an expanded patio.

“The entire year has been crazy for us,” said general manager Don Arnold. “At the end of the day, pivoting is what we were doing every single day. Really what it came down to is keeping everybody safe.”

Normally, deSha’s hosts a Thanksgiving buffet but scrapped that plan because of COVID-19. This year, the restaurant is providing a curbside to-go menu or dine-in reservations.

“If you want something to go you have an option of a turkey dinner or a prime rib dinner,” said Arnold. “If you end up dining inside with us, you will have a three-course, pre-fixed meal. It will start with a soup or a salad. You will have four entrees to select from and then four desserts to choose from as well.”

Click here to look at the menu options for deSha’s.