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With Halloween in the rearview mirror, “the holidays” — Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, etc. — are approaching quickly.

Not everyone likes to (or has the talent to) cook for large groups, and dining out on Thanksgiving can be a good way to relieve the kitchen stress, avoid cleanup and get a table big enough for the whole family.

O’Mara’s Restaurant in Berkley has been hosting a Thanksgiving Day buffet dinner for more than two decades. Reserve a table between 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. by calling (248) 399-6750. Cost is $31 for adults and $16 for ages 4-12.

The Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth has been cooking for families since 1888. They’re taking Thanksgiving Day reservations for 11 a.m.-9 p.m. The chefs there will also prepare a full carryout dinner with a 14-16 pound roasted turkey with loads of sides for $175. Add an apple or pumpkin pie for $12. Call (989) 652-9941 to reserve or order.

New this year, Eddie V’s in Troy still has availability on Nov. 23. The seafood chain’s first Michigan location will offer its regular bill of fare, as well as a special holiday menu. Call (248) 649-7319.

Other restaurants that are known to be open on Thanksgiving Day are Texas de Brazil in Detroit, Caucus Club in Detroit, casino restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck Steakhouse at MGM Grand Detroit and Birmingham’s Social Kitchen + Bar.

Get a head start on New Year’s Eve plans

Now is the time to also start thinking of your New Year’s Eve dining plans, if you want to get a table at your favorite place.

A look through my reservations apps — OpenTable and Reserve — show there are tables available on New Year’s Eve at hot downtown restaurants like Lady of the House, Gold Cash Gold, Parc and Caucus Club.

The Apparatus Room in the Detroit Foundation Hotel will be opening their reservations soon for holiday dining, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve feasts that will offer a special chef’s menu. I’m told details will be released on that soon.

Keep in mind that since New Year’s Eve is a Sunday this year, some restaurants that aren’t open Sundays may not be offering service.

Gayle’s is taking chocolate turkey orders now

Gayle’s Chocolates in Royal Oak is bringing back their hand-made chocolate turkey centerpiece. It is 10 inches tall, and includes 7.5 pounds of dark and white chocolate. The hollow bird is “stuffed” with chocolate wishbones, truffled drumsticks, caramel popcorn, chocolate cherries and cashews.

“They keep getting more popular every year,” says owner Gayle Harte. “You could just have a hollow turkey, but that’s no fun. A turkey should have stuffing.”

You can pull out the goodies inside through a bottom opening, or have fun cracking the chocolate turkey with a hammer or ladle. Order the chocolate turkey, $120, in advance at gayleschocolates.com or by calling (248) 398-0001.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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