Thanksgiving is a truly wonderful holiday. It is a day to relax, watch parades and football and most importantly, catch up with the family. But what happens if you can’t make it home for the holiday? Or what if the hustle and bustle of everyday life prevents you from cooking your traditional Thanksgiving dinner? A myriad of different circumstances can come into play when working out your Thanksgiving plans. However, there is no need to fear because, as always, the Short North has you covered. This year, the District is offering Thanksgiving community service opportunities, perfect places to get your turkey and other holiday favorites, and open restaurants that will take all the stress out of the holiday. The Short North can help you to make this Thanksgiving your best one yet!

Thanksgiving is a great time to help others. ‘Tis the season to do some community service! NNEMAP, or the Near Northside Emergency Material Assistance Program, located in the heart of the District, is open for business. NNEMAP is a cooperative ministry of 30 churches serving residents of the north side of Columbus. NNEMAP provides material and food assistance to families at or near the poverty level, including all the Thanksgiving fixings for a delicious meal.

“Thanksgiving is one of our busiest times during the year,” says Roy Clark, director of NNEMAP. “The Mid-Ohio Food Bank enables each pantry to purchase items which are typical foods for the season,” he adds. Each year, NNEMAP receives frozen turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples such as stuffing mix, sweet potatoes, and gravy via the food bank and private donation. They are able to distribute the items to local families, guaranteeing that all can experience the grand tradition of Thanksgiving. Do you have some extra food you would like to donate? NNEMAPP would love to take it off your hands! The service is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8:45am to 11:45am.

Finding all the foods to prepare the traditional Thanksgiving meal does not have to be a struggle.

North Market is the Short North’s one-stop shop for all your delicious holiday dinner foods and even the pans and tools you need for cooking. You can make your dinner remarkable and buy from local vendors! From turkey to vegetarian and vegan options, artisan breads to pretty pastas, and pies to pastries, you are sure to find all of the items you need for your own unique festivities without having to go to multiple stores. Even if you just need a little pick me up to handle the stress of the holidays (or your family!), North Market offers a fully stocked winery. North Market is open Tuesday through Friday, 9:00am to 7:00pm; Saturday, 8:00am to 5:00pm; and Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm.

If you do not consider yourself a culinary wizard or are too busy to make your own feast, Short North Kroger is the place to go! Kroger is offering the option of ordering your holiday meals to go and the ordering process could not be easier. You simply select what dishes you would like, choose a pick up time for your meal, heat at home, and you have a marvelous Thanksgiving dinner with a minimal amount of effort. Who doesn’t want to spend more time with their family and friends and less time in the kitchen? Kroger can help you make this happen.

Need to pick up an exceptional drink to compliment your meal? Camelot Cellars Winery is proud to be the only central Ohio business producing French wine Gamay Nouveau. Gamay Nouveau, with its pink color and fruity flavor, is sure to compliment any Thanksgiving meal. On November 18 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Camelot Cellars, along with many local French social groups, is holding a wine tasting featuring the acclaimed drink. Try a glass then take home a bottle for your special dinner.

Finally, what if you can’t go home this year? There is no need to be scared of being alone. Get your local “family of friends” together and eat a great meal in the Short North. Bodega boasts being open 365 days a year.  When everything else in Columbus is closed, you can always rely on Bodega for its delicious food and drinks.  Forget the traditional turkey! Have one of the restaurant’s famous grilled cheese sandwiches for your Thanksgiving dinner.  Pair your sandwich with one of Bodega’s seasonal beers or cocktails (We suggest the Watershed Winter Cosmo.) and you will have one memorable holiday meal.

Surly Girl Saloon and the rest of the Betty’s family of restaurants will also welcome patrons on Thanksgiving. Both Surly Girl and Betty’s Fine Food and Spirits will be open from 6:00pm to 12:00am, putting a fun holiday spin on their regular rough-and-tumble charm.  Indulge a little and try a pumpkin cupcake or the Drunkin’ Punkin, which is the drink special for the night at Surly Girl.

Both restaurants know how to put their spin on delightful desserts. Betty’s is offering their acclaimed Pumpkin Love dessert. This delicacy can even be ordered by the tray to take home for your family gatherings. If you can’t get enough pumpkin in your life, you can also try the regular menu offerings of Pumpkin Quesadillas or the vegan friendly Pumpkin Chili. Eating a delicious Thanksgiving dinner while surrounded by the charm of the Short North will surely get you into the holiday spirit.

Thanksgiving is an excellent time of year to reflect on all that is meaningful. While you think about your life’s many blessings, don’t forget to give thanks for the Short North, a neighborhood that works hard to serve its people. It is a rarity to find a place more eclectic, fun, friendly and caring than this area. Make it a part of your annual Thanksgiving celebration!

Note: Other favorite bars and restaurants of the Short North are open on Thanksgiving day. St. James Tavern, Barrel 44, Sushi Rock, Spinelli’s Deli, and Short North Tavern will all be waiting to see you this holiday. Call the business or check their website for information on restricted hours or menu options. Happy Thanksgiving!