They certainly know how to make the most of turkey at the Strongbow Inn, a Valpo icon for more than 60 years.
They used to have a turkey farm on-site. These days, they prepare the birds in dozens of ways, and they're gearing up for a Thanksgiving feast next week, that will feed nearly 4,000 people.
If you still haven't thought about what you're doing on the big day, consider the legendary Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso, Indiana. They've been serving turkey dinners pretty much everyday for the past 68 years. In 1938, there was a turkey farm here, which led to a diner.
"In 1940, when grandma actually - when the highway came through - she opened up a 29-seat roadside diner at that time, and she built cabins outside of the restaurant where people could actually stay," said Russ Adams of Strongbow Inn.
The turkey farm is gone, but they still have plenty of bird, which now comes from Michigan. The menu would make Forrest Gump's friend, Bubba, proud.
"Turkey ala king, turkey tetrazzini, turkey schnitzel, turkey marsala, turkey pie, smoked turkey wings, whole-roasted turkey of course, our turkey drumstick," said Adams.
Strongbow offers sliced turkey breast for sandwiches and the requisite giant turkey leg with stuffing and mashed potatoes. But check out the individual pot pies, which are made with the bits of turkey off the bone, and surrounded by thick pastry. Also, they thinly slice turkey livers, dredging them in seasoned flour before pan-frying them, and then plating along with bacon strips.
Turkey schnitzel is pounded thin, then dredged in a succession of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.. it's pan-fried and served with a lemon wedge.
All meals come with sides of homemade cranberries and pan gravy, which, incidentally, is made from the turkey stock that simmers all-day long.
Adams says they'll serve about 3,500 on Thanksgiving Day alone.
"We serve a lot of bird," said Adams.
Reservations highly recommended for the Strongbow's Thanksgiving feast.
If Valpo is a bit too far to drive, you could also visit Shaw's Crab House in Schaumburg, which is having a big Thanksgiving feast.
2405 E. US 30
Shaw's Crab House
1900 E. Higgins Rd., Schaumburg
The restaurant will serve a family-style dinner from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m. Each family (one per reservation) will go home with "leftovers" of turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, stuffing, and pecan pie to enjoy at home the next day.
Dinner is $39.95 per person, $16.95 for children 12 and under, exclusive of tax, gratuity and beverages.
Sweet Potato Maki
Salmon Spread and Lavash Crackers
Caesar Salad- Crisp Romaine, Parmesan Cheese, and Croutons
Spinach Salad- Baby Spinach, Granny Smith Apple, Goat Cheese, and Dried Cranberries
Mixed Green Salad- Mesculyn, Chopped Italian Parsley, Diced Onion, Croutons, with Herb Vinaigrette
Shaw's Chopped Salad - Avocado, Cucumber, Egg, Bacon, Scallion, Tomato, and Blue Cheese
Herb Roasted Turkey- Holiday Stuffing and Cranberry Compote
Yukon River Keta Salmon- Teriyaki Glaze
Club Room Combination -Filet Mignon, Sea Scallops, Griddled Garlic Shrimp
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
Alaskan King Crab Legs (Additional $10 per person)
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Sweet Potato Puree
Chocolate Layer Cake
Key Lime Pie