The Thanksgiving of yesteryear was a large family affair, where relatives gathered around a big dining table to enjoy a traditional feast.
That tradition holds true today, but increasingly, that large table could be inside a dining establishment on Restaurant Row.
There’s at least 20 restaurants along the Grand Strand offering turkey, dressing and all the sides for the holiday feast. It’s a trend that appears to be on the rise as a way to give everyone in the family a Thanksgiving break.
“The people that cook are enjoying Thanksgiving a lot more,” said Bridgitte Wilson, general manager of Giant Crab in Myrtle Beach. “It is a lot to cook a big meal.”
Employees of the Giant Crab have offered the Thanksgiving buffet for 10 years. Wilson wouldn’t give the number of holiday reservations on the books, but she said the restaurant is always busy.
They’ll have the turkey and stuffing, as well as crab and other seafood.
Greg Spatholt, general manager of Clark’s Seafood and Chop House in Little River, is sticking with the Thanksgiving classics for its first holiday buffet.
The restaurant, which is associated with Calabash’s Boundary House, has 200 reservations for its sit-down dinner.
Spatholt has worked Thanksgiving before, and said there tends to be large parties turning out.
“We tend to see ... a lot of elderly people,” he said.
Although the option is proving popular, the question is whether it’s economical.
Spatholt said their Thanksgiving dinner prices are $23.95 for adults and $15.95 for children. For a family of four, once the tip is factored in, the bill comes to around $90 or more.
Other restaurants are advertising their holiday prices anywhere from $21.95 to $24.95 for adults, and as low as $7.95 for children.
Those looking to keep up with tradition and make the food themselves will pay slightly more this year for all the fixings.
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 27th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving table indicates the average cost to feed 10 people is $49.48, a 28-cent price increase from 2011’s average of $49.20, according to the AFBF.
“At just under $5 per person, the cost of this year’s meal remains a bargain,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
The survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and milk.
It probably comes as no surprise that the 16-pound turkey is the most expensive item. The AFBF’s 2012 average is $22.23 for the holiday bird.
“Anyone with the patience to wait until the last minute to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving could be rewarded with an exceptional bargain,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist.