Thanksgiving dining in Columbus

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From the Thanksgiving dining in Columbus edition

It might be hard to believe, but it's almost already Thanksgiving. I know!

Anyway, that means you or a cruelly underappreciated loved one has a long and bumpy road ahead crammed with frantic shopping, bootcamp-type cooking, and dirty and brutal cleaning up.

And all of that only so "family and friends" can later whisper amongst themselves that the turkey this year was a little dry, the gravy a bit lumpy, one of the 15 pies a tad burnt. Well, I'm here to tell you it just doesn't have to be that way.

For those seeking to unburden themselves, here's a helpful list of food professionals who'll be open, willing and able to lighten your load on Turkey Day.

McCormick & Schmick

These upscale seafood specialists are cooking up a big traditional turkey dinner complete with cheffy touches but also that old convenience favorite - Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. Determined Black Friday shoppers will also be glad to find themselves smack dab in the middle of a giant mall.

$23

3965 New Bond St., Easton

614-476-3663

mccormickandschmicks.com

Latitude 41

This spread from one of our top local-sourcing restaurants looks absolutely scrumptious ("Turchucken" with foie gras dressing!). Plus, those prone to eating themselves into a holiday tryptophan stupor can opt to sleep it off upstairs in one of the hotel's luxurious rooms.

$40 ($20 ages 5-12; under 5 free)

11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

50 N. Third St., Downtown

614-233-7541

latitude41restaurant.com

Betty's

Good-timing Thanksgiving orphans might unite at one - or all! - of the Betty's Family of Restaurants. Those popular and fun food emporiums will be serving up their famous cocktails, cool tunes, plus maybe a Turkey Day special or two - like Dirty Frank's brilliantly named "Franksgiving Dog," appropriately piled high with mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy.

Betty's Fine Food & Spirits (5 p.m.-12 a.m.)

680 N. High St., Short North

614-228-6191

bettyscolumbus.com

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace (5 p.m.-12 a.m.)

248 S. Fourth St., Downtown

614-824-4673

dirtyfrankscolumbus.com

Surly Girl Saloon (6 p.m.-12 a.m.)

1126 N. High St., Short North

614-294-4900

surlygirlsaloon.com

Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails (5 p.m.-12 a.m.)

73 E. Gay St., Downtown

614-221-8300

tiptopcolumbus.com

Lindey's

The lovely Lindey's has a two-pronged approach to its Thanksgiving feast: a seasonally focused, of-the-moment menu (featuring entrees like pumpkin-sage gnocchi and maple-brined roasted turkey); or an opulent old-school buffet, which will up the ante of carved turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, with lobster bisque, Caesar salad, citrus dill salmon plus eight different desserts.

Buffet: $35 ($15 for those 12 and younger)

Entrees: $17-$32

169 E. Beck St., German Village

614-228-4343

lindeys.com

Claddagh

The Irish don't recognize our American Thanksgiving, but they know a party when they see one. Accordingly, the Columbus Claddaghs will be abetting our celebration with turkey dinners ($11, including all expected sides) along with an abundance of traditional Irish sides - i.e. whiskey and Guinness.

585 S. Front St., Brewery District

614-224-1560

8745 Sancus Blvd., Polaris

614-885-0100

claddaghirishpubs.com

China Dynasty

Maybe Grandpa's tired of turkey, Aunt Mummer has gone strictly gluten-free and/or Cousin Calliope is off the carbs. In any event, if the holy trinity of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes alone won't provide the proper Thanksgiving blessing for your family this year, check out China Dynasty's special buffet. From Mandarin Mixed Vegetables to Cantonese Roasted Duck, from Singapore Rice Noodle to Hunan Beef, all the Sino-classics are covered. (P.S. There's even a roasted turkey carving station for traditionalists.)

 $24 ($11 ages 6-12, 5 and younger are free)

1689 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington

614-486-7126

chinadynasty-cmh.com

Ray Ray's Hog Pit

Wanna stay in the comfort of your own home but leave the main cooking duties and kitchen demolition to the experts? Then smokin' Ray Ray's your man. He'll be wowing your gathering with entrees like natural, organic smoked turkey, pure grassfed beef brisket and low and slow cooked pork shoulder.

Prices vary

Search Facebook for "Ray Ray's Hog Pit" or e-mail jamesrayanderson@gmail.com to order.

94th Aero Squadron

World War II buffs and food aficionados alike will be sated at 94th Aero Squadron's Grande Thanksgiving Buffet, which includes all the mandatory holiday trimmings in addition to the Squadron's famous battery of delectable selections. Plus, if after having your fill of these holiday vittles, you realize you've also had enough of your bickering family, the 94th's convenient proximity to the airport makes a getaway to someplace friendlier as easy as pumpkin pie.

$25 ($13 ages 5-12; under 5 free)

5030 Sawyer Rd.,

614-237-8887

94thaero.com