How to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home in Chicago


Courtesy Goddess and Grocer

The Goddess and the Grocer offers an affordable take-out menu every year, and this Thanksgiving the restaurant is leading with its new mac n’ cheese dish.


To many, Thanksgiving can mean gathering with family and enjoying copious amounts of food, but there are other ways to spend the day than eating mashed potatoes and becoming a couch potato.

For students who will stay in Chicago for the holiday, there are several take-out restaurant options that can satisfy their Thanksgiving needs without breaking the bank. Volunteer opportunities in the city also give students a chance to do something meaningful for the community.

The Goddess and Grocer, a restaurant and bakery with six Chicago locations, has served a Thanksgiving menu for pick-up or in store for about 12 years, according to Sara Sportun, the restaurant’s director of catering. She said the menu includes traditional Thanksgiving dishes with a classic and gourmet twist.

Sportun said the turkey sausage with apple stuffing is a popular dish that is an unexpected hit. 

She said this year the creamy mac and cheese will make its debut on the menu, which features roasted tomatoes, bread crumbs, scallions and bacon.

“We added it to the menu after a couple of people requested it,” Sportun said.

The Goddess and Grocer’s Thanksgiving menu will be available in stores from Nov. 24–29. For a complete list of the menu and the store locations, visit 


County Barbeque, a popular barbecue joint at 1352 W. Taylor St. in Little Italy, will offer a take-out Thanksgiving menu for the first time, said Bonni Cameron, the restaurant’s general manager.

“I figured it was a good time to get ready for the season,” said Cameron, who has been the manager since Aug. 1.

Cameron said County added its own spin to the Thanksgiving turkey after researching what others were serving and decided to offer a smoked turkey, keeping the BBQ house’s theme.

“[The menu] is fairly traditional because people like to keep to tradition,” Cameron said.

The Thanksgiving menu for County Barbeque is available at The turkeys come in 10–12 pounds and are $70 each, with sides at $10 per quart. 72-hour notice is required.


The Greater Chicago Food Depository is always seeking volunteers, especially during the holiday season, said Jim Conwell, director of Communications.

“The Greater Chicago Food Depository responds to hunger all year long,” Conwell said. “We do some special things around the holidays because we know the important role food and tradition play in people’s lives.”

Conwell said GCFD distributed Thanksgiving food last Saturday, and will continue to give out meals throughout the week. On Nov. 25 and 26, Conwell said volunteers are needed to help collect donated food bags and hand them out to people in need from GCFD’s warehouse, 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, as well as through their local partners at soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters. He said volunteer space fills up quickly, so those wanting to participate should check the website calendar at for availability.

“We want to be sure people can have a good holiday,” Conwell said.


The Salvation Army of Chicago strives to help homeless people and others in need, according to Jacqueline Rachev, communications manager at The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. She said The Salvation Army depends on volunteers, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Volunteers are our backbone,” Rachev said. “They are really important to what we do.”

The Salvation Army will host several Thanksgiving dinners around Chicago. On Nov. 24, the Temple Corps Community Center, 1 N. Ogden Blvd., will serve food to approximately 150 residents, according to a press release from The Salvation Army. Two dinners will be held Nov. 26 at the Freedom Center, 825 N. Christiana Ave. in Humboldt Park, and at the Englewood Corps Red Shield Center, 945 W. 69th St. Students can volunteer to serve food by calling volunteer coordinator Linda Reiter at (773) 205-3502.

Rachev said the Freedom Center dinner will be the biggest, serving about 1,700 meals. Of those, 500 will be served at the center as a sit-down dinner, while center-based Mobile Feeding Units will deliver another 1,200 meals to homeless people at various locations in Chicago, Rachev said.

“Salvation Army depends on volunteers and donors this time of year to help us,” Rachev said. “Any little bit is important.”