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Ask Eater: Where Can My Vegan-Omnivore Family Eat Thanksgiving Dinner in Portland?

A reader is looking for a Portland restaurant that can accommodate vegan and omnivorous Thanksgiving diners in 2023

A table set for Thanksgiving, with vegan-friendly dishes like squash casserole.
A vegan-friendly Thanksgiving dinner.
Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.
Welcome to Ask Eater, an Eater Portland column where the site’s editor and reporter answer questions from readers and friends. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form with the subject line ‘Ask Eater.’

Hi Eater,

My vegan mother-in-law is visiting for Thanksgiving and I have decided not to cook this year. Do you have any recommendations for restaurants serving Thanksgiving meals that could accommodate vegans and omnivores alike? Thanks!

— Katie

Hi, Katie. You’d think a vegan-friendly Portland Thanksgiving would be decently manageable, considering Oregon is the birthplace of Tofurky, but surprisingly, very few Portland restaurants offering Thanksgiving menus will have Holiday Roasts or faux hams. There are a few spots that could work in Portland, also known as the unceded land of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, and Molalla tribes:

Urban Farmer: The steakhouse within the Nines hotel downtown will offer a Thanksgiving meal for pickup with honey-thyme roasted turkey breast, cornbread-mushroom stuffing, and saffron-pumpkin cheesecake, among other courses and sides; for your mother-in-law, the restaurant does have a vegan supplement too add to the order, namely a spiced cauliflower steak with marinated lentils and orange-harissa compote. Something to note: it doesn’t look like the dine-in menu is quite as vegan-friendly, so maybe stick to takeout.

Elephant’s: This local delicatessen chain has both six-person and individual Thanksgiving takeout meals for pre-order, but to accommodate your mother-in-law, you’d have to add a few a la carte options — the deli’s portobello mushrooms stuffed with quinoa, cashews, and vegetables; apricot roasted vegetables with thyme; and cranberry-orange relish are all vegan, but that’s about it. The deli’s market does offer a few other little snacks that you could use to supplement.

Vibrant Table: This catering company will offer a Thanksgiving meal for delivery this year, involving herb-encrusted turkey breast and traditional stuffing for the omnivores; luckily, the majority of the meal’s sides and dessert are vegan-friendly, including roasted candied yams, garlic green beans, and caramel apple fruit crisp. The company is making an heirloom bean cassoulet as a vegan entree option, which will work well for your mother-in-law.

Clarklewis: If you’d like to physically dine at a restaurant for Thanksgiving, Clarklewis is probably your best bet. Your mother-in-law will have options like cider-braised winter brassicas and caramelized baby turnips with toasted almonds, while the rest of your family can choose from things like wood-roasted Oregon Chinook, butter-and-herb-roasted turkey, and cornbread-chestnut stuffing. However, reservations for Thanksgiving appear to be booked up; call the restaurant at (503) 235-2294 to be placed on the waitlist, and cross your fingers.