The plans are made, the table’s set, and you’ve agreed under duress to make a turkey for the extended family. But you’ve neither the time nor inclination to fuss with all the side dishes and desserts, and you want to step it up a bit from the Jewel pumpkin pie and a can of cranberry sauce. Luckily for you, we’ve been stockpiling info on who’s making the most scrumptious Thanksgiving treats, from cranberry-citrus salsa to pumpkin chiffon cake. All you need to do now is pick up the phone or get online and order before they’re sold out.
Breads & Pastries
Maple and Ash’s fabulous pastry chef, Aya Fukai, has a side hustle, and it’s a good one. Her West Town bakery is making gorgeous cakes, whimsical sweets, and more. For Thanksgiving, it’s pie time. Order her 9” Traditional Pumpkin or Harvest Apple Pie ($28 each) with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream ($9). But hurry, because orders close Thursday, Nov. 21.
With four Chicagoland locations — Streeterville, Fulton Market, River North, and Oak Brook — to choose from, Beatrix makes it easy to snag one of their incredible pies from their in-house bakeries. Try the Oh My! Caramel, Pumpkin Chiffon, or Butterscotch Pecan Pie ($50 each) or the Tall, Dark and Handsome Chocolate Cake ($55). Order by Monday, Nov. 25 for pickup on Nov. 26 or 27.
Pastry chef Julianna Westgor makes this Loop spot a must-visit stop this holiday season. She will be offering her pies for pickup during the holiday season. You will dig her S’Mores Pie, Pecan Tart, and Crispy Phyllo & Apple Pie. Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance by calling the restaurant (312-384-1242) or emailing [email protected] and pies must be picked up by Wednesday, Nov. 27 as they are closed on the holiday.
Pastry chef/owner Dobra Bielinski has embraced American Thanksgiving traditions at her Jefferson Park bakery, including sumptuous pies (Cranberry Fudge, $20; Bourbon Chocolate Pecan, $25; or brandy-laced Pumpkin Pie, $16), festive Holiday Bread ($11) loaded with dried fruit and pecans, Vegetable Stuffing ($18) made with her own sourdough bread and local veggies, and Butternut Squash Soup ($15/quart). Order by Saturday, Nov. 23 for Thanksgiving Day.
I am a huge fan of the sourdough breads at this Evanston bakery. Order head baker/owner Ellen King’s great, crusty breads for your Thanksgiving table by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22 for pickup on Tuesday, Nov. 26 or Wednesday, Nov. 27. The Autumn Bread ($9.50), chockful of fall goodness, and the Cranberry Walnut ($7.50) are special standouts; order Herbed Dinner Rolls ($11.50/dozen) and grab some of the creamy, tangy cultured farm butter out of their fridge while you’re there. The Pear-Cranberry Galette ($20) makes a sweet ending to the Thanksgiving meal, and if you really love your family, order a six-pack of Take & Bake Morning Buns to enjoy while you drink cocoa and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday morning.
Catering stalwart The Goddess and Grocer hits it out of the park with inventive holiday offerings for the Thanksgiving table, especially for the vegetarians among us. Why not start off with Mini Butternut Squash Risotto Cakes ($24/dozen) with crispy sage and brown butter, or a Baked Brie ($48) topped with brown sugar and pecans? Sub in Vegetarian Pot Pie ($9 each) filled with soy crumble, fall veggies, and wild mushrooms and they’ll never miss the turkey. They’ve got plenty of sweets for you, too, from Pumpkin Walnut Cake ($60) filled with dulce de leche and iced with dark brown sugar buttercream to Pumpkin Cheesecake ($50). Place an order by calling 773-292-7100 or email [email protected], but be sure to get your order in by Monday, Nov. 25.
Chef Nariba Shepherd and her crew are all about respecting what’s local and seasonal, and they’re creating new traditions at their cozy Forest Park restaurant. Enjoy their riffs on Thanksgiving classics, like Pickled Green Bean Casserole ($22) topped with crispy shallots, Sorrel Cranberry Sauce ($15) flavored with orange and allspice, Stovetop Stuffing ($24), or Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Fluff ($24). Call the restaurant (708-435-4937) or email your order to [email protected]. Order by 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 for pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
HBFC chef/owners Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp aren’t just making a social impact — they’re making Thanksgiving more fun for you! Schmaltz Smashed Potatoes with Chicken Fat Gravy, Creamed Corn with Thai Green Curry, and Pimento Mac ’n Cheese with Garlic Breadcrumbs ($55 for full catering size) and other sides are available, plus Cranberry Jamchi ($10/pint) (trust me, it’s delicious … a little sweet, a little spicy, all yum!), Caramel Apple Dump Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream (market price), and, of course, their signature Honey Butter ($10/eight ounces). If you need other last minute items, like Corn Muffin Mix, Chicken Stock, Schmaltz (chicken fat), or even a Brining Kit for your turkey, they’ve got that, too. Items now available for preorder by website, phone (773-478-4000, ext. 2), or email at [email protected].
L. Woods has been in the comfort food business for a long time, and they know their way around this special holiday. Pick up favorites like Creamed Spinach or Candied Sweet Potatoes ($28.95 each, serves 12-16 as a side), Double-Bake Potato Casserole ($28.95), or Green Beans Almondine ($26.95). Order by Monday, Nov. 25 for pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Chefs Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris will be serving Thanksgiving dinner in the restaurant, but if you want a piece of the pie (as it were), you can also pick up your order from noon to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Dishes such as Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts ($14/pint, $24/quart), Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes ($10/pint, $20/quart), Apple-Sage Stuffing ($16/quart), and Local Cranberry Sauce ($9/pint, $18/quart) are sure to be crowd pleasers. Got a sweet tooth? You can’t beat Mrs. Stegner’s Pecan Pie ($30, serves 6).
This Evanston favorite is taking catering orders through Saturday, Nov. 23, with pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 27 from 4-10 p.m. All dishes serve 10-12 people. Enjoy Mac and Cheese ($30), hearty Mashed Potatoes and Gravy ($25), Homemade Cornbread ($19), Sausage and Pecan Stuffing ($35), Michigan Apple-Pecan Crumble ($29), and more.