For a city that's perfected the use of Thanksgiving leftovers, Louisville, Kentucky, has a lot of options for enjoying the big dinner, too. From dining in a boat on the Ohio River to eating turkey while betting at the horse track, these distinct Louisville options make for the perfect holiday meal with your loved ones. Also, if you find yourself with a little too much on your plate this Thanksgiving, you're in the right place: Use the extra turkey to construct your version of Louisville's famous Hot Brown sandwich, an open-faced turkey sandwich covered in Mornay sauce and topped with two strips of bacon.
Captain's Quarters Riverside Grill
Located on the banks of the Ohio River just northeast of Louisville in Prospect, Kentucky, the Captain's Quarters offers stunning views from its dining room and—weather permitting—outdoor patio. Enjoy a traditional holiday feast presented buffet-style on Thanksgiving Day this year.
The Captain's Quarters Thanksgiving Buffet features a salad bar, a turkey carving station, assorted fried chicken and seafood, and a variety of traditional sides like green bean casserole and cornbread stuffing. To enjoy this extravagant holiday meal, you'll need to book a reservation online or over the phone and pay a small fee to hold your table.
In addition to the buffet, the Captain's Quarters also offers a Thanksgiving Cruise that sets sail on the evening of Thanksgiving. During the three-hour journey along the Ohio River, you'll also be able to enjoy a sampling of the same holiday buffet served at the Riverside Grill. Reservations are required in advance and often sell out before the first of November.
Churchill Downs is perhaps one of the most famous attractions in Louisville, known best for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby each May. On Thanksgiving Day, though, you can watch 12 live horse race—including the Falls City Handicap (GII) and Cardinal Handicap (GIII) Stakes races—while dining on a traditional buffet at any of the restaurant venues in the complex.
The buffet menu on Thanksgiving Day features carving stations for Sorghum glazed ham with bourbon peach chutney and herb-roasted turkey with cranberry sauce and pan gravy. You can also pick up great sides like roasted fall harvest vegetables, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes topped with brown sugar pecans, but be sure to save room for a wide variety of seasonal pies and cakes for dessert.
The English Grill and J. Graham's Cafe at the Brown Hotel
In the historic Brown Hotel, named after the inventor of that famous Hot Brown sandwich, you can enjoy a formal Thanksgiving feast this year at the four-star English Grill. However, reservations are required and guests are asked to dress in their best formal attire to attend.
To start your meal, enjoy various hearty side items served buffet-style including sweet potato and Andouille bisque, Hot Brown canapés, shrimp cocktail, Jonah crab claws, oysters on the half shell, assorted hearth bread, and a variety of mixed green and quinoa salads. Next, your choice of entrées—including hand-carved turkey with cornbread dressing and giblet gravy, pan-seared salmon, and pan-seared chicken—will be served à la carte, and the meal will end with an assortment of seasonal sweets and patisserie creations.
For something a bit more casual than the English Grill at the Brown Hotel, head to J. Graham’s Café for a Thanksgiving brunch buffet. During Thanksgiving brunch, choose from a variety of breakfast items including a breakfast casserole, Belgian waffles with specialty bourbon syrup, and made-to-order omelets handcrafted by the Brown Hotel's culinary team. Alternatively, fill your plate with roasted turkey, hand-carved skirt steak from the rotisserie, and many other traditional favorites like cornbread stuffing and sweet potato casserole. For dessert, the pastry chef will provide holiday bread pudding, patisserie creations, and various seasonal sweets.
Mary M. Miller Thanksgiving Lunch Cruise
On Thanksgiving Day, you can embark on a lunchtime cruise of the Ohio River aboard the Mary M. Miller. Featuring a traditional Thanksgiving buffet and an unparalleled view of sights along the Louisville waterfront, this unique cruise is unlike any other meal you'll have in the city.
On the buffet menu, expect usual favorites like herb-roasted turkey and cornbread stuffing as well as regular menu items like southern green beans, Kentucky garden salad, and roasted red potatoes. Reservations are required to set sail with the Mary M. Miller cruise line, and tickets typically sell out well in advance for this holiday lunch.
Proof on Main
Take pleasure in the art-filled dining room of Proof on Main while enjoying a holiday meal served a la carte on Thanksgiving this year. During the event, chef Mike Wajda cooks up a variety of traditional favorites with a twist like the Heritage Turkey Feast, which includes smoked breast, roasted leg, butter-whipped potatoes, port cranberry, sorghum Brussels sprouts, and gravy.
Because of à la carte options, the price for each meal varies. Call the restaurant in advance for additional information or to book your reservation.
Sway at the Hyatt Regency
Sway Restaurant & Bar in the Hyatt Regency Louisville is home to Michelin Executive Chef Pietro Consort, who presents a Thanksgiving brunch with traditional favorites, seasonal entrees, and decadent desserts each year.
Traditional holiday menu highlights for this a la carte lunch service include roasted butternut squash soup, home-style potato salad, and oven-roasted turkey with orange-cranberry relish and giblet gravy. For dessert, indulge in banana caramel bread pudding or traditional pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies.