The two busiest traveling days of the year in the U.S. are consistently the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving. Some people fly across the country to visit family, while others aim to get away to somewhere new. In any case, eating a Turkey Day feast on the road is no easy feat. The good news is that there are a number of restaurants in the Little Rock area offering festive menus if you happen to be traveling to Arkansas' capital on Thanksgiving of 2019, no cooking or cleanup involved. Be sure to reserve a spot ahead of time if you'll be dining in because spots fill up early in most places.
Little Rock's historic Capital Hotel hosts a buffet on Turkey Day and offers a "Thanksgiving Turkey-Dinner-To-Go" option, too. At the 2019 buffet, start with pumpkin spice pancakes and pecan-smoked bacon before moving onto the traditional turkey, ham, and dressing served with shepherd's pie, green bean casserole, truffled macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, and more.
You can eat multiple meals at this swanky spread, but if you'd rather take it to go instead, there are two options: one that feeds 8-12 people and another that serves 16-18. It includes a roast turkey and all the fixings, plus pumpkin and pecan pie.
Skillet Restaurant at Ozark Folk Center State Park
Thanksgiving is not only a time to spend around the table with family, but also, due in part to the popularity of "Green Friday" as a replacement for Black Friday, a time to get outside. The Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View is a "living history" state park in the rugged Ozark Mountains. Every year, its Skillet Restaurant hosts a traditional Thanksgiving dinner which also includes some variety, such as fried chicken and sugar-free desserts. Enjoy an all-out festival complete with live folk music and a holiday craft show.
You can roll up to this restaurant without a reservation, too. Just put your name on the dinner list upon arrival and the hostess will call you when a table is free.
This homestyle chain restaurant serves up a Southern version of Thanksgiving dinner every day of the week. On the big day, though, it offers a special "Turkey n' Dressing" meal that comes with a hearty helping of turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, its famous biscuits and corn muffins, and other items; the meal is also available to go. Cracker Barrel offers freshly baked pies throughout the holiday season. And, for a home-cooked meal that doesn't need much preparing, you can purchase an easy "Heat n' Serve" dinner that you simply pop in the oven for two hours and can share with up to 10 people. You can count on getting a belly full of comfort food for a fair price.
Locations in the Little Rock area are at Springhill Drive, Shackleford Road, West Commerce Street (Bryant), and Skyline Drive (Conway).
Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa
The rustic cabin of Lake Ouachita's Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa, especially when adorned with autumnal leaf wreaths and pumpkin centerpieces, screams Thanksgiving. Perhaps that's why the reservations-only annual buffet sells out year after year. In addition to the typical Thanksgiving foods, you'll find a selection of fruits and cheeses, soup and salad bar, and freshly-baked bread.
The lodge is quite a jaunt from Little Rock (82 miles or 132 kilometers, to be exact), but a homestyle feast in a picturesque fall setting is worth driving out to the countryside for.