Thanksgiving dinner downsizes along with gathering size amid COVID-19 pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Deep fried turkeys, whole pumpkin pies and other Thanksgiving dinner extravagances are being downsized this year as people gather with much smaller groups to celebrate amid surging COVID-19 infections.

Rod Thomas's hobby and specialty is deep friend turkeys, which he usually makes for family and close friends. This year, he's finding everyone wants smaller.

"Lots of folks asking for 10 to 12 pounders, because of COVID they are having small gatherings," he said.

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Wishbone restaurant in the West Loop is also busy cooking turkey. For the first time, its Thanksgiving to-go menu includes individual plates.

"Even the pies are more by the slice rather than buying a whole pumpkin pie or a whole sweet potato pie," said Joel Nickson of Wishbone.

Paramount Events has pivoted from catering large events to small orders, like its Thanksgiving menu, with Paramount Fresh.

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"To make it easy for people to have leftovers for the next day, but for ease of production," said Devon. Quinn of Paramount Events and Paramount Fresh.

Among Rick Drogosz used Paramount for his daughter's wedding and is now using them for Thanksgiving dinner, which he lamented will be a much smaller family gathering next week.

"It's going to be different," he said. "Very disappointing, but on the flip side it will be very easy, too."

Even though the orders are smaller, they are helping the restaurants and caterers that have been struggling for business.
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