Thanksgiving is coming up fast, and if you are hosting (or even if you're attending), there is a lot of food that needs to be made. Perhaps you have a favorite dish that you make every year. Maybe you are dreading the cooking. Either way, many C-U restaurants and bakeries have Thanksgiving menus and shops have ingredients for your holiday feast. 

Last year, I ordered a cajun-spiced chicken and some sides from Neil St. Blues (not offered this year), and in 2019, I was one of the lucky ones to get a Black Dog smoked turkey (those are sold out this year, but set a reminder for October 1st if you want one next Thanksgiving).

This year, we have solid Thanksgiving options. I shared a few earlier this month in my November list of foods and drinks to try. Now in this list, I want to share more delicious foods and drinks you can source right here for this year's Turkey Day.

Note: This is not an all-inclusive, every-option-in-town list. This is a curated list of what I think would make great options for locally-sourced Thanksgiving foods.


General Shopping

The best spot to source local ingredients might be the Saturday Market in the Square held inside the Lincoln Square Mall. On Saturdays this winter, you can find leafy greens, beets, onions, squash, and more. These locally grown veggies are sure to taste delicious — and if you wanted to decorate your table all harvest-like with local squash, you could find your centerpiece at the Market in the Square. 

You can also find great locally sourced items at Common Ground and Strawberry Fields in Urbana. Both stores have shelves of options in addition to a well-stocked produce section, so you'll be sure to find ingredients for whatever recipe you might be making ths holiday. 

Suzu's Bakery sells panko bread crumbs for $3. If you want to snazz up your recipe with dried bread crumbs from Suzu's milk bread, this is your chance. I bet those bread crumbs be great on a savory casserole, no matter the kind. Order online here

If you want to secure a turkey to cook yourself, Common Ground has pasture-raised turkeys from Triple S Farms. Use this form to pre-order your turkey. You can choose if you'd like an extra small turkey or a medium turkey. The pick up days are this Saturday, next Friday, and the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Cheese & Crackers is taking orders for free range turkeys from a farm in Fairbury, Illinois just 55 miles away. Put your order in soon if you want one.

A beautiful charcuterie board from Prairie Fruits Farm has soft goat cheese rounds sliced open beside white flowers on a wooden board. Photo from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery's Facebook page.Photo from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery's Facebook page.

Appetizers 

The best app is cheese, right? I will take counter arguments in my email, thank you.

Prairie Fruits Farm sells their goat cheese online, and the one I'd recommend is the Just chevre & a little something. This pack comes with your choice of chevre (I love the herbs de Provence) plus a jar of jam, roasted cinnamon-sugar pecans, and a box of Potter's crackers. All you need is a board or plate to put the stuff on. If you want to send some cheese to family or friends across the country, PFF does ship products nationwide.

You can also get cheese from Art Mart on one of their charcuterie boards. You can order a 12 inch tray that serves eight to twelve people or a 16 inch option that serves 20-25 people. Both charcuterie boards have five cheeses, three meats, pickled items, mixed nuts, and preserves. There is a small size available as well that is an 11 inch circle tray with just three cheeses, two meats, and some snacky items. You must pre-order with two days' notice. Call 217-344-7979 and speak with the deli to order. Art Mart is closed on Thanksgiving, but you can schedule a charcuterie pick up for Thanksgiving Eve.

You can also make your own charcuterie board if you want to. I wrote a step-by-step how to article on making charcuterie from Harvest Market. It's thorough; I talk about what cheeses I chose and what order to put the items on your board. If you want the TLDR version, go to Harvest Market and look for cheeses sound yummy. Then check out the cured meats and pick a few. Grab some crackers, put it all on a wooden board, and viola: charcuterie. 

An overhead photo shows a fully cooked, seasoned whole chicken on a white platter with a silver border. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Bird

If you don't want to cook your turkey this year, you have options. 

You can order a smoked turkey from Project 47 Smokehouse in Mahomet, and it comes with a pint of cranberry barbeque sauce. You need to order by November 14th if you want one of the smokehouse's turkeys. Your turkey will be ready for pick up on Thanksgiving Day, warm from the smoker and ready for your table.

Party in a Pinch Catering has cooked whole turkeys for sale. They offer a choice between a whole turkey carved or uncarved. I like to carve the bird (and also take a selfie with the turkey), so having the option to slice the turkey on Thanksgiving myself is great. If you don't want to slice it yourself, let them carve it for you.

An overhead photo shows a plate of Thanksgiving food: a drumstick and thigh, a roll, stuffing, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Full Thanksgiving Dinners

If you don't want to cook anything, these places have some Thanksgiving dinners (full bird not included).

Baldarotta's is selling Thanksgiving dinner by the person for $29.99 which includes a choice of porketta or turkey, a side, salad, and pumpkin pie. The sandwich shop in the Lincoln Square Mall is known for their big flavors and meaty sandwiches, so this is sure to be a stellar choice. Order by the Sunday before Thanksgiving at 4 p.m. for pickup on the Wednesday, November 24th.

Piato Catering has Thanksgiving dinner options for $25 a person which includes a choice of turkey or vegetarian stuffed squash. The dinner also comes with a side, a vegetable, and dessert. All Thanksgiving dinners from Piato also come with gravy, pumpkin rolls, cranberry sauce, and a salad. The deadline for ordering is November 21st at noon. Pickup is on Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Modern Family Dinners is offering a Thanksgiving feast for either four people or 10-12 people. There is a choice between turkey or ham, and all feasts include a salad and three sides. Order before 2 p.m. on November 15th, and pick up on Thanksgiving Eve at The Fields.

Party in a Pinch Catering has a complete Thanksgiving meal for six to eight people. It comes with your choice of turkey or ham plus three sides and a choice of dessert: pumpkin bars or pecan bars. You need to put your order in by Friday, Novevember 19th. The meal will be ready for pick up on the day before Thanksgiving.

The Wheelhouse will give your family of 4-6 a full Thanksgiving dinner including roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, orange cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mixed greens salad, and a whole pumpkin pie. The Wheelhouse makes delightful meals, and you won't be disappointed with their farm-to-fork fare.

One-T's Cornerpocket is serving Thanksgiving dinner in person on Thanksgiving. You can get a half pound of turkey with "all the fixin's" for $15 starting at 4 p.m. on Turkey Day.

Sides + Desserts

The pièce de résistance of Thanksgiving dinner (for me) are the sides. Gimme the buttery rolls and mashed potatoes and savory stuffing and corn pudding and — now I'm hungry. I found some awesome sides and desserts, and if you're wanting to support local restaurants and get out of cooking some dishes for Thanksgiving, check these out.

A large pull-apart bread roll sits on a wooden board on a white counter. Photo from Central Illinois Bakehouse website.Photo from Central Illinois Bakehouse website.

Bread

Central Illinois Bakehouse is my go-to bakery for bread. Peep these seasonal pull-apart breads for the holidays. Choose from brioche, garlic Parmesan, sourdough, and white yeast rolls. The pull-apart rolls come in a round tin and can be reheated before eating for about five minutes in a 350º oven. On the bakery's site, you can pre-order quick breads, baguettes, sliced sandwich bread. You can also find order forms at Pekara on Springfield in addition to a selection of holiday items on the bread racks in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. 

Rick's Bakery sells a variety of bread, and you can find French bread at the Downtown Urbana bakery for your stuffing or as a side for all those kids who only want to eat bread. If you're at Rick's, you should probably pick up a cake (why not?) and maybe try the monkey bread. 

An overhead photo shows four side dishes in each corner. In the top left, green beans, top right, sweet potato casserole, bottom right, mashed potatoes in a blue bowl, and on the bottom right, stuffing in a metal pot. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Sides

The best place to get sides for Thanksgiving dinner this year has to be Common Ground. The Urbana co-op will have a wide selection of Thanksgiving grab-and-go options, all made from scratch using organic and local ingredients. Starting Friday, November 19th through the day before Thanksgiving, November 24th, you can pick up turkey, stuffing, veggies, cranberry sauce, pies, cookies, and rolls. No pre-order necessary, and no cooking required. I'm eyeing the pumpkin bisque and the peanut butter pie. Check out the full menu of what you can find at the food co-op here.

You can also get sides a la carte from Project 47 Smokehouse in addition to the whole smoked turkey they offer for Thanksgiving. The restaurant's sides range from $30-$40 and will feed eight to ten people. If I was coming to your Thanksgiving dinner, I'd want the pan of macaroni and cheese. The order deadline is approaching, so make sure you order by November 14th for a Thanksgiving Day pick up.

Modern Family Dinners also has sides available a la carte. I think the hashbrown casserole and the corn-squash gratin ($15 each) both sound pretty delicious. You should order before 2 pm. on November 15th, and you pick up Thanksgiving Eve from noon to 6 p.m. at The Fields.

Several pies are on a metal counter at Po Boys for Thanksgiving. Photo from Po Boys' Facebook page.Photo from Po Boys' Facebook page.

Desserts

Cake Artist Studio in Champaign is baking up so many Thanksgiving desserts. Find cakes like a cozy fire s'more cake roll and brown sugar pumpkin cake on the menu. If you don't want cake, I'd order the assorted cookie box which includes a variety of holiday cookie bites in a festive Thanksgiving box. Put your order in by Saturday, November 20th and pick up on Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

If you love pie, you need a pie (or three) from Oh Honey Pie. This pie truck has some yummy options for Thanksgiving: salted honey, chocolate, caramel apple crumble, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie. You can also order whipped cream or pie crusts from Oh Honey Pie if you want to supplement your own desserts. Order pies online here. Pies can be picked up or delivered to you on Thanksgiving Eve. 

Lucky Moon Pies has an awesome selection of Thanksgiving pies in Mahomet. You can order fun options like cranberry cream pie or pumpkin streusel in addition to a lot of classics like apple pie and Southern pecan pie. The bakery is selling take-and-bake dinner rolls, too. 

Pekara Bakery & Bistro on Springfield Avenue has bourbon pecan pie and salted caramel apple pie with a cornmeal crust. There are always a great variety of baked goods at Pekara, and you can't go wrong with the gooey butter cake. 

Po Boys is making their annual Thanksgiving pies. The pies are $20 each, and the flavors available this year are apple, cherry, blueberry, peach, double chocolate mousse, pecan, coconut cream, and pumpkin. Order by phone, stop in to the Urbana restaurant, or message the restaurant on Facebook for the order form.

Over in North Champaign by Menard's, Nothing Bundt Cakes has a whimsical turkey with a gratitude topper for their bundt cakes for Thanksgiving. If you haven't tried the signature cake with the most amazing cream cheese frosting yet, perhaps Turkey Day is a good time to order one. 

Drinks

In Champaign, Blind Pig makes beers which are sure to please any out-of-town guest (or yourself). I tried the Blind Pig Curtis Orchard Hard Cider, and I liked that a lot. I haven't tried the Eaten by Snakes one, but it's on my list to try just because of the name.

Curtis Orchard has a great apple cider which can easily be made boozy if you're into that. Get it from the orchard or find it at almost every local grocery store.

Triptych brews their own local beer, and there are so many options to buy by the can. This is perfect for stocking your fridge or throwing in your trunk for a road trip to the inlaws. Save the Natty Lite for another day; holidays are a time to splurge on your beer. My pick? The Triptych brew made in collaboration with Japan House: Mirai (Beautiful Future), a crisp and dry sparkling light lager.

An overhead photo shows the author's Thanksgiving spread: two baskets of rolls, a whole chicken, a bowl of mashed potatoes, a tin pan of green beans, a metal pot of stuffing, and a black casserole dish with sweet potato casserole. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

This year, I am thankful for a lot of things, and near the top of my gratitude list are all of the C-U restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and bars that have perservered through the restrictions of a pandemic to serve food and drinks. What a gift it is to live here in Champaign-Urbana. I am thankful for the chefs, baristas, servers, bartenders, managers, and bakers who have made my food and drinks this year. This Thanksgiving, I raise a glass to you. 

To all of you, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

Pricing, menu descriptions, and order-by dates are correct to the best of our knowledge, but subject to change and availability.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.