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Need A Backup Plan? Here Are The Fast Food Restaurants Open On Thanksgiving

When most people think of Thanksgiving, a few food-related items come to mind: turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, yams, and green beans, to name a few. And, usually, the aforementioned foods are enjoyed around the dinner table after friends and loved ones have cooked for hours on end. But not everything goes according to Thanksgiving dinner plan, my friends. So if you find yourself in need of a back-up, wondering what fast restaurants are open on Thanksgiving as your smoke detector goes off and your turkey burns, have no fear. Rest assured, there are places always open to accommodate individuals searching for a quick substitute.

If you really think about it, you could do worse than enjoying all the great Thanksgiving foods and desserts without the stress, cleanup, uncomfortable conversations with relatives, or time commitment that would come with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. And who says Thanksgiving has to involve a turkey? Why not a hamburger, or a steak, to change things up? After all, you're an adult.

The world is your oyster (and coincidentally, you can even eat oysters at one of the restaurants listed below), so you don't have to be confined to the "rules" of traditional Thanksgiving fare. Instead, you can invite the whole clan to a quick dinner out, or go it alone and be thankful all by yourself. Regardless, thank goodness you won't have to resort to a frozen dinner the one day you're supposed to indulge.

Boston Market

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If you're looking for an actual Thanksgiving-style meal, Boston Market tops the list. With carry-out and shipping available, you can even place an order ahead of time, as long as you do so by November 19.


Who doesn't love a little frosty and fry situation? Fresh — never frozen — burgers never go out of style, so if you're in need of a fast, go-to, Wendy's has your back, according to their website.


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Denny's as it all, from comfort classics, like turkey and dressing, to a delicious breakfast (that tastes just as good for dinner), and even pie. In select areas, there's even a delivery option, which means you don't have to even get dressed to eat a festive meal.


McDonald's is up there with places that rarely, if ever, close, and that's a good thing. It may not be your aunt's homemade stuffing, but if you're lucky, the ice cream machine won't be broken.


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If you're in the mood for pancakes, head over to IHOP for an all-you-can-eat stack of them. And make sure they're pumpkin spice, because Thanksgiving. 'Tis the season.

Burger King

Another fast-food-centric place that's got you covered? BK! The King is always ready to serve a flame-grilled Whopper in times of extreme crisis (like when the power goes out and everything is ruined).

Cracker Barrel

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Cracker Barrel could very well mimic the Thanksgiving feels you would experience around the dinner table, thanks to the home-cooked vibe and cozy interior. If anything came close to how Thanksgiving actually makes you feel, it's this. And bonus: you can order online to make things a little speedier.

Papa Johns

Pizza is acceptable any time of year. Thanks to Papa John's, you can give thanks for never leaving home and having a fantastic comfort-food meal. According to the chain restuarant's website, they're open on every major holiday except Christmas Day.


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If bar and grille is more your thing, Applebee's is the place to be. Word has it, there's a Thanksgiving-specific menu of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and garlic green beans available at some locations, so call ahead before you decide to put pants on.

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse

Feeling a little fancier than turkey and mashed potatoes? Ruth's Chris is the steak destination with select stores offering a holiday three-course meal for $39.95 (for adults) and $12.95 (for kids). A bit pricey, but so is buying all the groceries to cook a complete Thanksgiving meal, am I right?

Ruby Tuesday

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Sometimes, you might just crave a big salad. Ruby Tuesday has a pretty solid salad bar to fix that. Thanksgiving doesn't have to be all about pies and carbs (but having a salad first leaves more room for them, FYI).

T.G.I Friday's

T.G.I Friday's now has endless appetizers meaning everyday is Thanksgiving if you want it to be.

Legal Sea Foods

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Like I said, the world can be your oyster at Legal Sea Foods! It may not be the most traditional Thanksgiving meal, but hey: it's your day, make it what you want. Also, for the non-seafood lovers, the restaurant will host a traditional Thanksgiving feast for $24.95 (and $8.95 for children 12 and under), but reservations are highly suggested.


OK, so technically it's not a complete meal, but the only way to get through some familial interactions is with a strong Espresso. Luckily, Starbucks is open for that very thing.

Maggiano's Little Italy

Maggiano's Little Italy

If sweet potatoes and green beans aren't your thing, Maggiano's Little Italy will be serving a four-course Family-style dinner (serves five) with bruschetta, salad, an entree, two sides, two types of pasta, and of course, dessert. You have have to order by November 17th.

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