Thousands to dine out for the holiday

November 26, 2002|by TARA REILLY

Tri-State-area restaurants expect thousands of local residents and out-of-towners to eat out on Thanksgiving Day, with most families turning out to avoid having to clean up after dinner, managers and owners say.

"They leave the mess to us," joked Kevin Benner, owner of Antrim House in Hagerstown, which has been serving Thanksgiving Day dinners since 1989.

His staff will be cooking 25, 25-pound turkeys for the 600 people expected to eat at his restaurant, Benner said.

Donald Hummer, owner of Antrim House in Greencastle, Pa., said he expects about 1,700 people from the Tri-State area to turn out Thursday.


The restaurant can seat about 475 people at one time, Hummer said.

He said all 64 staff members will be working the Thanksgiving Day buffet. The restaurant will prepare about 65 turkeys and 30 hams.

"It's our biggest day of the year," Hummer said.

The restaurant has been serving Thanksgiving dinners for 25 years. The buffets at both Antrim House restaurants will cost $12.95.

Michael White, dining room manager at the Bavarian Inn & Lodge, said the restaurant will serve Thanksgiving dinners by reservation only, offering dinners that will cost about $15-$22.

The dining room will open at 7 a.m. and stop seating around 6 or 7 p.m., White said.

Ed Snodderly, food and beverage director of Four Points Sheraton, said Nicholas' Restaurant will offer a large buffet in the hotel's Grand Ballroom.

He expects more than 400 people to spend their Thanksgiving there.

Employees will begin preparing for the buffet on Tuesday, and will work all night on Wednesday. The buffet will offer hot food, seafood, sirloin, turkey and other items.

Snodderly said some people probably choose to eat out on Thanksgiving so they don't have to prepare the food or clean up afterward.

The buffet at the hotel will cost $17.95 for adults and $12.95 for children.

Dan Sweeney, a nighttime cook for the Tortuga Restaurant at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Hagerstown, said some people go out for Thanksgiving dinner by themselves or are couples without family members in the area.

"They'd rather have somebody else cook for them," Sweeney said.

He said others just like to meet up with friends or family.

Sweeney said reservations are not required for the buffet, which will offer traditional Thanksgiving food.

Ashley Stockwell, a guest service representative for the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg, W.Va., said about 600-625 people are expected for the buffet there.

She said most of those who attend will be from the Martinsburg area, but some people from areas such as Winchester, Va., and Hagerstown will also turn out.

Reservations are recommended for the buffet, which will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Stockwell said.

The Orchards in Chambersburg, Pa., began baking pies and cake on Monday, in preparation for about the 300-400 people who are expected on Thursday. Banquet Coordinator Paul McNew said it takes about a week to prepare for Thanksgiving.

"Most home kitchens, including mine, do not have enough pots and pans," William Stanhagen, owner of Hilltop House Hotel, said of one reason why people choose to eat out on Thanksgiving.

Stanhagen's restaurant in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., probably will feed between 600-650 people, he said. About 125-150 people can be served an hour.

"We'll be cooking turkeys all this week," he said.

Stanhagen also said people go to restaurants to eat because it's a relaxed atmosphere with no cleaning up and that restaurants provide the space for large families to gather.

Most of the diners who turn out there are from West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. The buffet will run from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., he said

Hilltop has been serving Thanksgiving dinners since it opened in 1888.

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