If you're in northern New Jersey at Thanksgiving and don't have time to prepare a massive family feast—whether it's because you're visiting relatives or you're in town for business—there are fortunately a number of great restaurants that are often open for the holiday.
From Hamburg and West Orange to Jersey City and Hoboken, the thriving communities in northern Jersey that neighbor New York City feature some of the region's best restaurants—many of which will be open on Thanksgiving Day.
Prepare for your holiday meal out by checking the Thanksgiving menu on the restaurant website (restaurants usually post their menus by late October) and making a reservation to ensure you can dine at your preferred time without a wait.
Unique and extensive dining options ranging from a five-course tasting menu to a huge family-style buffet await you this Thanksgiving at the Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey.
The Grand Cascades Lodge traditionally offers both a buffet in its Emerald Ballroom and a three-course Italian-inspired menu at Springs Bistro. Meanwhile, Crystal Tavern serves a traditional three-course turkey dinner, and the Diamond Ballroom at Minerals Hotel in Vernon hosts a holiday buffet, complete with a "kids corner" for kid-friendly foods like little mac and cheese and pizza bagels.
Additionally, top-rated New Jersey eatery Restaurant Latour usually offers a five-course dinner that includes such delicacies as a delicious apple, caviar, and oyster starter, chestnut agnolotti, monkfish, heritage turkey croquette, and pumpkin roasted in hot ashes and served with honey and berries. Offerings vary each year.
The resort traditionally offers a Thanksgiving Escape package where you'll get 25 percent off if you arrive on Thanksgiving Eve and stay at least two nights. Staying at Crystal Springs Resort grants you and your family access to a weekend full of happenings including activities such as a scavenger hunt, marshmallow roast, movie screenings, live entertainment, gingerbread house crafting, ornament decorating, and a holiday drinks class.
Decorated with Gatsby-era furniture and props including a 1920s telephone booth, opulent chandeliers, and a converted train car, The Essex House in West Orange, New Jersey, is a great destination year-round, but on Thanksgiving Day, you can step back in time for a holiday feast featuring traditional favorites alongside the restaurant's specialty dishes. The chef's choices vary each year but you will certainly have a marvelous array of dishes for your holiday meal.
The Thanksgiving buffet includes seasonal specialties like chestnut stuffing and homemade cranberry relish as well as The Essex House's traditional buffet offerings like penne a la vodka and an assortment of domestic and imported cheeses. In addition to this plethora of appetizers and sides, three carving stations and a dessert station filled with pastries, pies, and more will round out the meal.
The Bernards Inn, Bernardsville
Kick off the holiday season in style at one of New Jersey's most charming (and highly-rated) boutique hotels, The Bernards Inn. Thanksgiving at the inn usually features two equally indulgent options—a Grand Buffet and a three-course prix-fixe dinner, both of which showcase organic turkey.
The Buffet is usually served from late morning to late afternoon and features seafood, meats such as braised short ribs, charcuterie, salads, and much more including a dessert display large enough to satisfy any appetite. Meanwhile, the prix-fixe dinner is usually served from noon to 6 p.m. and features items from the restaurant's fall menu.
Nautical getaway and solid local favorite McLoone’s Boathouse is located within the South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange, New Jersey. On Thanksgiving Day, you can usually choose from a holiday buffet or a traditional turkey dinner served with all the trimmings.
The Thanksgiving buffet features a selection of soups and salads; a carving station with Virginia ham and oven-roasted turkey; chafing dishes overflowing with sides like stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cheese turnips, bechamel-topped cauliflower, and mixed vegetables; and a dessert tray featuring fresh fruit and assorted pies. There is reduced pricing for children 3 to 11 years of age.
If you’re looking for a more traditional holiday meal, you can also order a turkey dinner feast, which comes with several sides and a dessert and costs a little less than the buffet. Either way, you'll need to book your reservations in advance as this popular restaurant will likely be busy on Thanksgiving.
Liberty House, Jersey City
Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with a view at Jersey City’s Liberty House Restaurant, which offers the stunning backdrop of New York City for its highly regarded annual Thanksgiving service.
No need to venture into New York City and deal with post-parade traffic; throughout the afternoon into early evening, you can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast or build your own delectable dinner from an impeccable three-course prix-fixe menu filled with seasonal creations like Guinness glazed chicken lollipops, honey ham with local cider and maple demi-glace. For dessert, a selection of mini pastries by Liberty House's resident pastry chef are served family-style, giving you every opportunity to treat yourself to more than one option—just like at home.
Rails Steakhouse, Towaco
If you're looking for something even more savory than an oven-roasted turkey for your Thanksgiving meal this year, you can get one of the best steaks in New Jersey at Rails Steakhouse in Towaco.
Rails Steakhouse's full menu of premium steaks and sides is usually available to order on Thanksgiving Day, but you can also get a plated turkey dinner with all the fixings if you do find yourself hungry for a traditional holiday meal. For dessert, look for Rails' famous butter cake topped with mascarpone and toasted almonds and drizzled with blueberry sauce.
After your meal, head downstairs to the restaurant's speakeasy Thirty3, which offers light-night drink service, live performances, and a wide selection of wine and craft cocktails.
Morris Tap and Grill, Randolph
If a casual, family-friendly restaurant with a rustic ambiance and food that hits the spot for all ages is more your scene, the legendary Morris Tap & Grill is your best bet, especially since your appetites will be in the hands of Food Network's Chopped Champion, Chef Eric Levine. For MTG’s “traditional family-style feast,” the family can enjoy salads, vegetable sides, turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse, and more from noon to early evening on Thanksgiving Day. Bonus: the craft beer selection is noteworthy. You can book your Thanksgiving reservation online.
The Manor, West Orange
Thanksgiving Dinner at The Manor kicks off a series of holiday events that few eateries in the state can match and usually features a four-course a la carte buffet with seatings from the afternoon through early evening.
The à la carte four-course dinner usually includes decadent starters like a fillet of salmon, a jumbo shrimp cocktail, and a Maine lobster bisque as well as mains ranging from roasted Vermont turkey with traditional stuffing and mashed potatoes to an herb-crusted rack of Colorado lamb with potato-leek gratin and asparagus.
The buffet takes the traditional route, focusing on the classics you know and love: turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied yams, cranberry sauce, plus the standard Sunday Family Dinner Buffet items offered at the Manor each week.
If you'd rather have a taste of the sea for your holiday feast, you can book a reservation at the upscale Oceanaire Seafood Room inside The Shops at Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey. Usually open from 2 to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Oceaniare offers holiday patrons an expansive selection of fresh seafood as well as a special hand-carved prime rib station.
Restaurant Serenade, Chatham
You can take a drive down Roosevelt Avenue in Chatham for a three-course meal at Restaurant Serenade, where Chef Laird's contemporary American cuisine can be paired with wine from the restaurant's extensive wine list. Thanksgiving at this upscale eatery usually features fall favorites like pumpkin soup, oven-roasted turkey, and fresh-made apple cobbler with a focus on sourcing locally.