Restaurant News & Reviews

Best Bite: Dining out for your Thanksgiving meal in Whatcom County

Thanksgiving dinner is served at Old Town Cafe in Bellingham.
Thanksgiving dinner is served at Old Town Cafe in Bellingham. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a meal shared at home with family, and maybe a close friend or two, and many Americans spend a day or more preparing a special feast. But sometimes we simply want to dine out, or just can’t manage the entire meal ourselves.

Sure, many of us “cheat” with store-bought pie or dinner rolls, and many grocery stores offer catering services for the main course or side dishes.

According to a Forbes magazine survey in 2011, about 14 million Americans dine out, and the National Restaurant Association puts that figure at 30 million people. Meanwhile, some 10 percent of Americans eat more than one Thanksgiving meal as they split the holiday among relatives.

Don’t want to cook for the holiday this year? Here are five local establishments whose Thanksgiving meals stand out:


Semiahmoo Resort offers a buffet in its ballroom from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring roast turkey, ham and prime rib. Cold dishes include oysters with shallot mignonette, and a selection of salads – including almond and cranberry coleslaw. Hot side dishes feature corn on the cob, green beans, roasted squash, and smashed Red Bliss potatoes. For dessert, key lime pie stands out among the more traditional choices of pumpkin, pecan and apple.

At the resort’s Pierside Kitchen , there’s a three-course holiday meal served from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Both the buffet and the three-course meal are $36 a person, $16 for children 6-12, and free for children 5 and younger.

• 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway, Blaine; 360-318-2090;



Old Town Cafe is hosting its 42nd annual free thanksgiving dinner from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a true community event at the popular downtown diner, which buys much of its food from small local or regional sources. Volunteers organize, prepare and serve a full Thanksgiving meal that’s open to everyone. All of the food is donated by local businesses, unions, farmers, churches and individual contributors. There’s live music all day. No more volunteers are needed this year, but if anyone who wants to contribute, they can call Diane Brainard.

• 316 W. Holly St.; 671-4431;


For nearly three decades, Five Columns, a Greek restaurant off of Samish Way, has served a traditional Thanksgiving meal in addition to its regular menu.

It’s open noon to 7 p.m. with a dinner of roast turkey with apple-bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, choice of soup or salad, and pie. Other menu selections include the November special of broiled pork chops with a lemon-olive oil-garlic sauce.

Seniors 65 and older eat free from noon to 2 p.m. Call early for reservations.

• 1301 E. Maple St., Bellingham; 360-676-9900;



Chuckanut Manor features a Northwest-theme buffet that adds clams, mussels, oysters, Dungeness crab and wild salmon to the traditional menu of turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes.

Hours are noon to 7 p.m. It’s $38 general, $15 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and younger.

• 3056 Chuckanut Drive, Bow; 360-766-6191;



In addition to dining out, there’s always the takeout option. Local Haggen supermarkets are open reduced hours for regular shopping on Thanksgiving, and its Market Street Catering unit features prepared meals for pickup or delivery.

Choices include a complete turkey or ham dinner for eight people, including dessert and side dishes, for $129. Options for four people are $69. Cooked turkey, ham and turkey breast also are offered a la carte, as are side dishes including maple chipotle yams, orange-cranberry relish and white chocolate and cranberry bread pudding for dessert.

• Various locations in Whatcom County; 360-733-8720;