A holiday special edition.
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Washingtonian website
Thanksgiving Special Edition: This Week in DC Food Stories
NOVEMBER 25, 2019
Thanksgiving dinner at The Smith. Photograph courtesy of The Smith.

Happy early Thanksgiving!

I’m back home in Colorado this week, campaigning my mom for canned cranberry sauce on our Thanksgiving table. (Sorry, but the fancy homemade stuff just doesn’t compare!) If you’re here in town and still figuring out your plans, don’t forget to check out our handy guides to Thanksgiving catering and takeout as well as ordering pies and sweets. Prefer to dine out? We’ve rounded up options for meals of all types—from super-fancy to family-friendly to vegetarian/vegan. (But get on those reservations ASAP!)

Another fun option: let the staff of Medium Rare on Barracks Row (515 8th St., SE) deep-fry your turkey for free! Owner Mark Bucher has been offering to crisp-up birds for 10 years now.

The tradition started as a way for customers to enjoy a fried turkey without burning their houses down, but it’s since evolved into much more than that. The first year the restaurant cooked about 80 turkeys. "I thought there’s no way we’ll ever do more than this," Bucher says. But as he was heading home that day, he noticed a piece of paper tucked under the windshield wiper of his car.

"I’m like, ‘Damn it. Who gave me a ticket on Thanksgiving?! I’m all pissed off, and I go look, and it’s a note from a family that was living in a shelter saying, ‘We want to just thank you for cooking our turkey. We would have had no ability to cook Thanksgiving dinner without your help.’ Now we can never stop."

Last year, Medium Rare fried almost 400 turkeys.

Doors officially open at 11 AM on Thanksgiving day—just keep in mind some people get in line as early as 8 AM. The restaurant has 10 fryers that can hold two turkeys at a time, and waits can span from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Although the restaurant is otherwise closed on Nov. 28, you can catch the Macy’s Day Parade on the TVs and enjoy some complimentary apple cider and coffee while you wait. Bucher says if he has a bartender willing to work, they’ll open the bar too. (Bucher says the day is optional for his staff, but he sends those who work home with a turkey or dessert for their families.)
Take note! Your turkey must be fully thawed and weigh no more than 8 to 10 pounds.

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Also happening:

DRINKSGIVING: Here’s another PSA—Thanksgiving eve is one of the biggest going-out nights of the year. And to keep the party going later, DC is allowing more than 200 bars to extend their alcohol-serving hours until 4 AM from the evening of Nov. 27 through the morning of Dec. 1.

BRUNCH: Looking to get cozy the weekend after Thanksgiving? Here are five spots where you can brunch by the fire.

IT’S BASICALLY CHRISTMAS NOW: DC’s most popular holiday bar, Miracle on 7th, has returned to Shaw. This year, Drink Company is celebrating the hometown World Series win with a "candy cane baseball wonderland." Plus, eggnog shots are back.

Have a good holiday everyone! And if you have a really, really good mac and cheese recipe, email me:

-Jessica Sidman, food editor (@jsidman)

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