5 Hendersonville-area Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving (2019)

As Thanksgiving draws near, ordering the dinner is as easy as a run to the market for the turkey, vegetables, and deserts. Others will make reservations at one of Hendersonville’s best restaurants or making a call to order dinner. Afterward, a long afternoon of watching football that drags on into the evening. The perfect Thanksgiving…right?

Early Thanksgivings in the mountains were quite different. It was a time of giving thanks for the harvest. Summers in the mountains could be glorious, a time of good weather and timely rains. Other summers could be the opposite, bad weather, terribly hot, and rains would not come. Regardless, those in the mountains gave thanks for what they did have. As the family and friends gathered, the wives and Grandmothers prepared the meal with what they had and the men, it was one of few days they had to rest.

The first documented Days of Thanks were noted with the early settlers in Virginia in 1619 and with the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 and 1623. The Virginians gave thanks for safely crossing the Atlantic and the Pilgrims for simply surviving. The feasts of those early Thanksgivings were quite different than of modern times. There were no pumpkin or pecan pies, no mashed potatoes and gravy,  or no stuffing. For the Virginians, the feast consisted of what they had brought on the ships and what could be found immediately around the settlement. While the feast is not recorded, one can envision deer, turkey, duck, and an assortment of fruit and berries.

The Pilgrims fared better in some respects. as they celebrated a bountiful harvest. What documentation is available noted that their feast included deer, waterfowl, vegetables, fish and shellfish, and fruit. Wild turkey, brought by the Indians, were likely included but not the centerpiece of the meal. Many of the local Indians shared in the meal. Without their help in the previous year, the colony most likely would have failed. 

In the mountains, the Thanksgiving feast would more resemble the feast prepared by the Pilgrims. Turkey, deer, and squirrels were plentiful and included in the meal. The vegetables from the summer crops were enjoyed along with wild berries, walnut and hickory nuts, and fruits from the apple and cherry trees. Pies and bread would grace the table with homemade butter. Carrying on the Pilgrim tradition of sharing, the meal was shared with the less fortunate. 

While the traditions of Thanksgiving change, the meaning of giving thanks has not. The hardscrabble life of the early times around Hendersonville may be easier, our thankfulness has not changed. Our harvest may be gained elsewhere other than the farms, orchards, and forests of our past. The gathering of family, friends, and sharing the bounty of the year’s harvest makes a mountain Thanksgiving special. 

If you are traveling to Hendersonville for Thanksgiving, the following eateries are open for Thanksgiving dinner for you and your family. It is recommended that you call ahead for reservations as this is one of the busiest times of the year!


Never Blue

119 S. Main Street

Hendersonville, NC


Price range: $$

Cracker Barrell Old Country Store

105 Commercial Blvd.

Flat Rock, NC


Price range: $$

Season’s at Highland Lake

86 Lily Pad Lane

Flat Rock, NC


Price Range: $$$

Olive or Twist

121 W. Barnwell St.

Hendersonville, NC


Price range: $$$

Harvey’s at The Henderson

201 3rd Ave W.

Hendersonville, NC


Price range: $$$