Buddha once (allegedly) said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” Spoken like someone who never cooked a Thanksgiving feast for 12 inside a cramped Bay Area kitchen. Here’s another truth: The East Bay is brimming with restaurants, caterers and markets serving up a veritable freeway of excellent turkey, stuffings, pies, potatoes and more. These easy pit-stops are ideal for anyone who wants help with a handful of appetizers and side dishes or for someone seeking an entirely catered affair this season.
This holiday is supposed to be fun, and you don’t have to do everything on your own. Because not everyone thrills at the thought of spending four days preparing turkey thigh confit (like I will this year; say a little prayer) or daydreams about achieving perfect geometric crust patterns atop their holiday pies. So, please, consider this roundup a starting point for inspiration — list of reliably excellent places to shop for your greatest Thanksgiving feast — and not an all-comprehensive list.
Thanksgiving takeout in Berkeley
The catering arm of comfort food haven Rick & Ann’s Restaurant will offer classic deviled eggs ($20 for 10 halves), mini sweet potato biscuits ($20 for 10), garlicky green beans ($28), herb focaccia stuffing ($28), a whole roasted Mary’s turkey ($155) and more. For an added indulgence, grab a quart of the lobster bisque for $25.
What you should know: Items are oven-ready and must be placed in advance. Pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 23 between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Orders must be placed in advance via email at email@example.com.
Ann’s Catering, 2922 Domingo Ave. (at Tunnel Road), Berkeley
Market Hall Foods on 4th/Rockridge Market Hall
This beloved local market offers a bevy of standbys for the holidays, with Thanksgiving being its busiest time of year. Market Hall is offering roasted Mary’s turkey – brined in white wine, mustard and herbs – available in breast ($42), wings ($18), and legs ($20). You can also grab an apple juice marinated Fra’ Mani sweet apple ham ($45 for 2 lbs, $89 for 4 lbs). Seeking sides solely? Check out their “everything but the bird” special ($186) featuring buttery mashed potatoes, yams and apples with cranberries, pecan-studded Brussels sprouts, green beans, turkey gravy, cornbread stuffing and cranberry-orange sauce. All items available a la carte. However, if you can only snatch one side this year, consider the caramelized leek and winter squash quiche ($28), thick with crème fraîche and emmental cheese, baked in a butter crust.
What you should know: Thanksgiving menu pre-orders are accepted online from now through noon on Saturday, Nov. 19. Pickups available Monday, Nov. 21 through Wednesday, Nov. 23. Pre-orders are strongly recommended to ensure quantities and to reserve a pickup time. You can also order by phone at 510-250-6001 (both locations) by noon on Saturday, Nov. 19; if you miss the deadline the entire menu is also available for walk-in customers in-store through Nov. 23, as long as supplies last. To avoid large crowds, grab your goods on Monday or Tuesday or — even better — pick up from the Berkeley store, which is significantly less crowded.
Thanksgiving takeout in Oakland
The French soul food spot features a glorious Thanksgiving dinner kit ($210). It comes with a full bird (which you cook at home), andouille cornbread dressing, biscuits and housemade strawberry jam, butter-whipped potatoes, green beans with roasted garlic butter, cranberry compote, and more. By all means, add bread pudding for dessert, as well as extra sides, at checkout.
What you should know: Cooking instructions and a foil roasting pan are included in every order; make sure to plan for between 1-3 hours to get your turkey fully cooked (and, as always, let your bird rest for at least 20 minutes before carving in order to prevent dry meat). Pre-orders, which you should place as soon as humanly possible, are available for pickup on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Brenda’s, 4045 Broadway (near 41st Street), Oakland
Chef Geoff Davis is inches away from officially announcing the location of the hotly anticipated permanent spot for his modern Soul pop-up, but he’s still found time for Thanksgiving, serving up a meal kit that serves 6-8 ($316) and includes a buttermilk brined turkey, cornbread stuffing and herb and shallot gravy. You can also bulk the table up with a selection of a la carte sides like mac & cheese and green bean and mushroom casserole.
What you should know: The meal kit and sides will include instructions on how to finish each item at home, so build prep time into your Thanksgiving day plans. Orders must be placed via Tock, and pickup is at Bay Grape, which will have pairable wines on hand. Pickup begins at 11 a.m. on Nov. 23, you’ll choose your pickup window when you place your order.
Communitē Table has plenty of Thanksgiving staples – like sliced Diestal Farms turkey, sage focaccia stuffing, cauliflower-brussel sprout gratin, mushroom gravy, buttermilk biscuits, sweet potato pie and more – but also comfort food offerings like arancini, apple galette and (blessed be) banana cream pie. You may also order their heat-and-serve complete Thanksgiving meal (featuring the aforementioned items, and more) for two ($75) or six ($180) people.
What you should know: Available for pick up Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 22-23. Communitē Table will be closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 23.
Communitē Table, 4171 MacArthur Blvd. (at Maybelle Avenue), Oakland
For many, tamales are a staple of the Thanksgiving table. And La Guerrera’s Kitchen, helmed by mother/daughter duo Reyna Maldonado and Ofelia Barajas, lays claim to some of the East Bay’s best meat, veggie and vegan pouches of joy, like chicken with mole rojo sauce, black bean and cheese, pork in salsa roja or sweet piloncillo and raisin. New this year will be pre-cooked frozen options, which are pre-packaged and come with heating instructions.
What you should know: “Place your orders ASAP,” warns La Guerrera’s Kitchen. “Do not wait! We repeat, do not wait!” Cut off for Thanksgiving ordering is the Nov. 21, pickup is Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note that La Guerrera’s Kitchen will be closed on the 24th and 25th.
La Guerrera’s Kitchen, 468 8th St. (near Broadway), Oakland
Should you choose to handle turkey preparation on your own (suggestion: Stephen Cusatos’s “f*ck the whole bird” recipe looks downright amazing), Mockingbird’s “everything but the bird” will pick up the slack. À la carte holiday delectables include fried Brussels sprouts topped with blue cheese and fresh thyme ($24), three-cheese artichoke dip ($18), twice-baked mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese, green onions, and sour cream ($25); lemon-pepper gravy ($16); cornbread stuffing with apple, celery, leeks, and sage ($20) and bread pudding anointed with salted caramel sauce and vanilla whipped cream ($18). They’ve also partnered again with Angel Pies for pumpkin spice, pecan bourbon, and cheesecake pies (yes, cheesecake is a pie) for $30 each.
What you should know: You must schedule your pickup time between noon – 6: 30 p.m. Wednesday Nov., 23. All items come packaged with heating instructions included.
Mockingbird, 416 13th St. (at Broadway), Oakland
Purveyor of contemporary California-Israeli cuisine, Pomella will offer up roasted turkey, mushroom bastilla (a vegetarian take on Morocco’s phyllo chicken pie), yukon gold and celeriac mashed potatoes and shaved Brussels sprouts with butternut squash and brandied cherries for Thanksgiving. Don’t miss out on chef-owner Mica Talmor’s sweet potato cheesecake with candied ginger and pecan-caramel. Apple pie care of Oakland’s Edith’s Pie will also be available whole and by the slice.
What you should know: Pre-orders are strongly encouraged starting now, though limited items will be available for same-day pickup. Order by Nov.17 for pick up on Nov. 22 or 23. Please note that Pomella will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
Pomella, 3770 Piedmont Ave. (at West Oakland Boulevard), Oakland
This vegan hotspot will offer a pick-up menu ($40) created by chef/owner Tamearra Dyson (who, no small feat, was the first vegan chef to beat Bobby Flay) featuring rosemary seitan steak, andouille sausage dressing, crawfish etouffee, baked cajun mac, braised collards, brown-butter mashed potatoes, black eyed peas, pecan praline candied yams, jalapeno-cheddar cornbread and rum pound cake.
What you need to know: All Thanksgiving dinners will only be available for pickup on Thanksgiving Day. Get your orders in as soon as possible, and call (510) 922-1615 with any questions.
Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway (at Third St.), Oakland
Toriano Gordon’s crowd-pleasing vegan spot announced via Instagram that it has opened pre-orders for a 10-13 person vegan feast ($170) as well as a smaller-scale one that serves 5-7 ($90), including smoked “turkey,” gravy, dressing, collard greens and more. They’re also offering full ($170) or half ($90) trays of yams and other sides.
What you need to know: Order online before Nov. 20 by scrolling down to “family trays and packs” then making your selections. Pickup is on Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Vegan Mob’s Oakland location.
Vegan Mob, 500 Lake Park Ave. (near Rand Avenue), Oakland
Featured image: a Thanksgiving spread from Market Hall. Credit: Market Hall