Ahwatukee Foothills News: Local Eateries

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Local Eateries

A growing Thanksgiving tradition: eating out

David Jolkovski/AFN

With more and more people electing to avoid the work of serving Thanksgiving feast at home, Ahwatukee and East Valley restaurants have opened their doors for the holiday.

For Chompie’s vice president of operations Frank Lara, Thanksgiving means another day of business and helping the community.

“When we first opened (for Thanksgiving in 1979), nowhere else was,” Lara said. “We’ve been caught in situations before when we needed someone to go above and beyond, so we understand how it can be.”

To avoid all the stresses of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, Chompie’s has created two meal plans, one for individuals and one for families. They can be made in-house on Thanksgiving, taken home and heated up, Lara said.

After seeing a 200-percent growth in sales from 2014-15, Chompie’s is preparing for more meals than ever, Lara said.

“We have 555 packages expected this year,” Lara said. “Everything is cooked the same day and nothing is frozen.”

Need a single ingredient? Chompie’s might be able to help there too.

“We’ve had a customer ask to buy tomatoes because everywhere else was closed and we sold him tomatoes,” Lara said. “We do it for convenience; those last minute things to accompany their meal.”

“Convenience is the larger part of today’s lifestyle.”

Like Chompie’s, Rustler’s Rooste in Ahwatukee has kept its doors open for Thanksgiving since the 1970s.

“We’ve always been busy, but the last 10 years has been crazy,” Mills said. “We see a lot of families come back year after year.”

But it isn’t just convenience for the customers, it’s also what’s on their plates that keeps them coming back, Mills said.

“We have a Turkey Stuff that is $159.99 for the whole family,” Mills said. “It includes everything you need for Thanksgiving and when you’re done, we’ll bag it all up for you to take home.”

On the north side of the Chandler Fashion Center, Keg Steakhouse general manager Danny Sanchez has also followed the Thanksgiving trend after doing some research on his customers.

“We started the promotion about eight or nine years ago,” Sanchez said. “We looked at our database and found that our customers were asking for us to be open on certain holidays. Over the last five years, we’ve seen a lot of growth.”

Primarily open for dinner, The Keg makes an exception for Thanksgiving. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. or noon, and operates until around 8 p.m.

“We saw the potential for guests coming out and provide a great meal so they don’t have to worry about dealing with all the work that comes with Thanksgiving,” Sanchez said. “And for $27 a person, we think it is saving them more money than if they went to the grocery store.”

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