Pandemic Holidays: A look at dining options for families this Thanksgiving

Local News

Local establishments are providing alternative meals for families

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – It may just be the most important part of the holiday and there’s never too much of it to go around.

When it comes to the Thanksgiving holiday, two things come to mind- family and food. With an ongoing pandemic, family may be a little out of reach this holiday but food- that remains a constant. Food is a necessity for every Thanksgiving celebrations and in a year like 2020, maybe more so now than ever. At Festival Foods, they’re doing all they can to make this holiday continue without a hitch.

“We love the holidays here!” says Sue Rouse, Customer Service Lead at Festival Foods of Green Bay. “We do our best to, again, ensure that the guests have a great shopping experience because it is that family time of year. It is that time that, even with all of the craziness going on, we have in our control a way to help our guests enjoy what they have to do and that is to prepare for their meals.”

With many expected to stay home this holiday, the grocers are prepared to help those customers indulging in the at-home meal prep. From grocery lists to planning calendars, the resources go on.

“One of the things that we’ve really noticed lately is the act of prepping- getting people ready for everything,” said Rouse. “We have so many opportunities and tools that we can give out now to help our shoppers have that wonderful experience.”

Meanwhile at Mackinaw’s in Green Bay, they’re continuing a fresh tradition that began three years ago. A tradition aimed for families who might want to relax a little more than most. The restaurant is closed on Thanksgiving so employees can be with their families- something they hold dear not only with their staff, but customers as well.

“I think that’s going to be missed a lot this year,” says Kevin Quinn, Owner of Mackinaw’s Restaurant. “I think we’re going to start to feel it a little bit, individually. We’re creatures that like to be social and when that’s been taken away- and it’s been taken away for a while as it comes and goes with lockdowns and then reopening. I think people are going to be missing that and so if we can be a part of that, in the family, or at least to help- then all the better.”

Despite being closed on Thanksgiving and to provide families with a dining option, Mackinaw’s will have some meals-to-go. They’ve got their ‘Take and Bake’ option, as well as some family meals.

“We are offering ribs, enchiladas, chicken pesto gnocchi, chicken alfredo, build-your-own tacos, some of those items because as the landscape has changed at home and at work with home schooling and all of that- making dinner is sometimes a little tougher,” said Quinn. “So if we can offer some assistance in doing that, then it’s something we’d like to do.”

With the pandemic slowing down a lot of things, baseball and sports were hit just as hard. Similar to Mackinaw’s, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are getting in on the meals-to-go scene. As a way to adapt to the change, they began offering meals specifically for holidays- including Easter and Mother’s Day.

“With the success that we had with both of those events, we thought it would be good to continue that with the next holiday and that being Thanksgiving,” says Rob Zerjav, President of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. “So far the response has been great and it’s just nice that we’ve got some business and great that we can help out in the community.”

Their holiday meal contains all of the necessary trimmings one would expect at the dinner table come Thanksgiving. But they’re also offering Wednesday soup nights. For the T-Rats, it’s an opportunity to not only stay busy but also remain connected with the community.

“Internally, honestly, for us- it’s been great to give our staff something to do instead of just wondering what’s going to happen,” said Zerjav. “What’s going to happen in the baseball world, when are we going to play our next game? So this has kept people busy and kind of showing some hidden talents of some of the people on staff.”

And Zerjav says there’s still time for those families who would like to sign-up for their meals-to-go. You can find more information by visiting the Timber Rattlers online right here.

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