Missoula Restaurants Offer Thanksgiving Dinner, Without the Work

Editor’s Note: Make it Missoula has partnered with the University of Montana’s Online News class, taught by Lee Banville, to create a Citizen Journalism feature that’s all about local views, stories, and issues. We’re excited to provide them with a platform so they can objectively explore and report about the topics they think reflect the lives and times of Missoula and its citizens.


Thanksgiving Day is upon us and many are knee-deep in fixings and pots and pans, readying for the onslaught of family.

But for some, turkey day does not equal hours in the kitchen while football blares from the living room. That’s not to say there still won’t be a major meal, but they won’t be preparing it.

For some restaurants – from high-end to family – Thanksgiving is another day at work.

Here in Missoula, there are a few restaurants that are staying open for the holiday, and even offering a traditional meal so that you can still get those customary dishes without having to cooking and clean.

The following is a sampling of restaurants open on Thanksgiving if you want to take it easy (or if things go horribly wrong in the kitchen).

The Montana Club is not only staying open, but has a Thanksgiving meal that would satisfy any traditionalist, with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and more. For those who prefer to avoid the usual holiday meal, the full regular menu will also be made available. However, this restaurant is closing early on Thanksgiving, shutting their doors between 7 or 8 p.m., so don’t be late. Though the price is not yet officially determined, the same meal last year was around $18, and manager Blake Chamberlain expects this year to be in the same range.

Finn & Porter at the Doubletree Hotel is offering their regular menu as well as a featured turkey dinner. Though the manager, Josh Jonpow, is unsure exactly what the holiday meal will include, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and gravy are definitely going to be included. A special Thanksgiving-themed dessert is planned as well. The price for their holiday meal has yet to be determined.

Thanksgiving, the traditional way. Photo by Bob Jones.

Denny’s is one restaurant that remains open “24/7/365,” according to manager Glen Rockwell. Their menu will have a holiday themed offering for its patrons as well, priced at only $8.99, including turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and two other sides. There is also a new menu that will be available through the holidays with six different meals on it.

The Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern is taking a slightly different approach to the holiday, hosting a buffet with a large variety of Thanksgiving themed dishes available for customers to choose from. With three different seating times (11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm) you’ll have the options of oven roasted turkey, sirloin and halibut, with a range of sides including mashed potatoes, garlic green beans and sweet potato soufflé. There will be a number of desserts available as well, including goat cheese pumpkin cheesecake. For the adults, there is even a holiday themed cocktail featuring vodka infused with pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. The buffet costs $25 for adults, and $15 for children.

There are other restaurants slated to be open, but be sure to call first. Most restaurants in Missoula will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Still, if you want the traditional meal without the traditional hassle, there are a few places staying open to help make sure you can enjoy a traditional food coma.