Thanksgiving alone in Austin offers opportunities for charity and pie


Fabian Fernandez

Eliza Ulack, 4, looks at sweets at Quacks 43rd Street Bakery on Tuesday evening. Quacks has a wide selection of baked goods, including pies, cakes, macaroons, decorated cookies, croissants, muffins and breads.

Hannah Smothers and Sarah-Grace Sweeney

Whether you are from the City of the Violet Crown or you’ve decided to stick around for Thanksgiving, there’s plenty of fun to be had and mounds of food to be eaten. If staying in Austin means spending the traditionally family-oriented holiday alone, The Daily Texan has compiled a few options to keep your Thanksgiving spirit alive. For the most part, we encourage you to eat more than normal no matter who is sharing your table. 

1. Give back with Operation Turkey

Operation Turkey began in Austin in 2000 when founder Richard Bagdonas delivered one meal to a man on Sixth Street. The project has grown to feed over 5,000 in the Austin city limits in 2012 alone and has expanded to include Dallas and San Marcos. Volunteers can help by cooking food, sorting through donations, packaging the food and delivering meals and donations to those in need. Interested parties can sign up easily on Operation Turkey’s website. 

2. Don’t miss out on Thanksgiving dinner

Several restaurants remain open Thursday. If you feel like treating yourself, fork over $68 for a Feast of Flavors brunch or $85 for a five-course dinner at The Driskill Hotel. If you aren’t currently holding handfuls of extra cash, Kerbey Lane serves a traditional Thanksgiving meal for $14.95 right on The Drag. Closer to Riverside, Threadgill’s is open and offering their famous Southern comfort food. For North Campus residents, Hyde Park Bar & Grill has both a meat-eater and vegetarian option for $16.95 and $12.95, respectively. 

3. Get out of the house to see a movie

It is perfectly acceptable — and hardly noticeable — to be alone in a dark movie theater. It just means more popcorn and soda for you. Several local theaters are staying open on Thanksgiving Day, including the Violet Crown located on Second Street. The Violet Crown is showing four movies on Thanksgiving, including the already highly acclaimed titles “12 Years a Slave” and “Dallas Buyers Club.” If you need some cheering up after your post-“12 Years” sob fest, The Violet Crown usually has cake balls for sale. You can eat chocolate and share your misery with the employees who have the misfortune of working on a holiday.

4. Earn your dessert in the Turkey Trot

In order to justify participating in number five on this list, run in Austin’s annual Turkey Trot, a five-mile run that takes place on Thanksgiving every year. Bonus points if you walk to the starting line at Auditorium Shores, or just the bus stop, from your apartment. If you don’t feel like paying the $30-$35 registration fee, you can design your own five-mile route around downtown from campus and avoid the crowds at Auditorium Shores. In past years, several Turkey Trot participants have shown up in full turkey costume, so the money and trek south of the lake could be worth it,

5. Eat an entire pie

To truly celebrate one of Western culture’s most gluttonous holidays, you don’t even have to leave your home, dorm or apartment. Pick up a pie from a local bakery such as Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery. It doesn’t even have to be of the pumpkin variety, but extra Thanksgiving points if it is. Turn on Netflix, the football game or crack open a book, and enjoy that pie all by yourself. No one will even know you ate every single bite and licked the tin.