If you find yourself in northern New Jersey this 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 will be 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 in 2018.
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 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 little mac and cheese and pizza bagel lovers.
Additionally, top-rated New Jersey eatery Restaurant Latour offers a five-course dinner that includes 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.
The resort also 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 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 this year, you can step back in time for a holiday feast featuring traditional favorites alongside the restaurant's specialty dishes.
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 (turkey, ham, sirloin) 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) venues, The Bernards Inn. Thanksgiving at the inn features two equally indulgent options this year—a Grand Buffet and a three-course prix-fixe dinner, both of which showcase organic turkey from Princeton's Griggstown Farm.
The Buffet will be served from 11:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m. and will feature salmon, chilled seafood, braised short ribs, charcuterie, salads, and much more, including a dessert display large enough to satisfy any appetite. Meanwhile, the prix-fixe dinner will be served from 12 to 6 p.m. and will feature items from the restaurant's fall menu.
To get your family in the holiday giving spirit, you can bring an unwrapped gift or two to place under the Inn's lobby tree to participate in the Project Little Soldier Holiday Toy Drive, which benefits children whose parents are serving in the military.
Nautical getaway and solid local favorite McLoone’s Boathouse is located within the South Mountain Reservation Complex in West Orange, New Jersey. On Thanksgiving Day, you can 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 stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cheese turnips, bechamel-topped cauliflower, and mixed vegetables; and a dessert tray featuring fresh fruit and assorted pies.
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 this year.
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 Thanksgiving service.
No need to venture into the city and deal with post-Parade traffic; from 1 to 6 p.m., you can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast or build your own delectable dinner from an impeccable three-course prix-fixe menu filled with seasonal concoctions like Guinness glazed chicken lollipops, roasted garlic with bleu cheese, 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.
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 will be available to order on Thanksgiving Day in 2018, but you can also get a plated turkey dinner with all the fixings if you do find yourself hungry for a traditional holiday meal.
After your meal, you can head downstairs to the restaurant's speakeasy Thirty3, which offer light-night drink service, live performances, and a wide selection of wine and craft cocktails. For dessert, you can enjoy Rails' famous butter cake topped with mascarpone and toasted almonds and drizzled with blueberry sauce.
Morris Tap and Grill, Randolph
If a casual, family-friendly restaurant with a rustic ambience 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”, adults ($34 pp) and kids ($15 pp) alike can enjoy salads, vegetable sides, turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse, and more from 12pm to 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Bonus: the craft beer selection is noteworthy. Call 973-891-1776 for reservations, or book online. 500 Route 10 West, Randolph
Thanksgiving Dinner at The Manor kicks off a series of holiday events that few eateries in the state can match and features a four-course a la carte buffet with seatings from 12:30 to 7 p.m.
The à la carte four-course dinner 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. Open from 2 to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Oceaniare will offer holiday patrons an expansive selection of fresh seafood as well as a special hand-carved prime rib station.
More North Jersey Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving
For a low-key Thanksgiving a bit further out, you can head to Elmwood Park's local gastropub The Twisted Elm for a four-course holiday dinner featuring butternut squash soup, frisee and arugula salad, roasted turkey with stuffing, cranberry relish, and veggies as well as pumpkin or apple pie for dessert.
Alternatively, you can take a drive down Roosevelt Avenue in Chatham for a three-course meal at Restaurant Serenade, an upscale eatery whose menu features fall favorites like pumpkin soup, oven-roasted turkey, and fresh-made apple cobbler.