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Meals and more
Merchants serve up food, fun for holiday
Honeybaked Ham 4 es
Shannon Bradley shows a spiral honeybaked ham Tuesday afternoon at Honeybaked Ham. - photo by Emily Saunders
From food to fun, Forsyth County businesses offer a variety of Thanksgiving celebration options for families.

While turkey is most often associated with the holiday, for many residents Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a HoneyBaked Ham.

“It’s a family tradition,” said Doug Griffith, manager of the Buford Highway HoneyBaked location in Cumming. “It’s kind of a family festive holiday memory. There’s always been one on my table ever since I was a little kid.”

Donna Lindquist hasn’t had much time to plan for her Thanksgiving. A manager at the Ingles grocery store on Canton Road in Cumming, Lindquist said business has been brisk since Monday.

“It will really pick up this weekend and [next] Monday it will really hit heavy,” she said.

Along with New Year’s and Christmas, Lindquist said Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days for the store, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We have everyone working Thanksgiving ... we have all registers going at one time,” she said. “We’ve got to make sure everybody gets fed. You can’t have hungry people.

“We’ve got a really good ad going for two weeks to cover all the holiday specials ... everything for your cooking needs we have on sale.”

For residents wanting the turkey dinner experience without the pile of dishes, Ted’s Montana Grill will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Thanksgiving day.

In addition to its regular menu, the restaurant will feature traditional roast turkey and dressing, garlic mashed potatoes, country-style green beans, “Aunt Fannie’s” squash casserole, cranberry sauce and yeast rolls.

The turkey plate, regularly part of the restaurant’s Sunday special, is “one of our most popular items,” said regional manager Kris Germentz.

“People come on Sunday just for that,” he said. “We also have a traditional nutty apple crisp, which is incredible. We cook them to order with Granny Smith apples and homemade pecan streusel.”

After Thanksgiving dinner, Chris Ollila said the crowds start coming to Stars and Strikes family entertainment center at Merchants Square in Cumming.

Ollila, a branch general manager, said business “gets busier as the night goes on.”

“It’s almost all families on Thanksgiving,” he said. “There’s so much to do. You can bowl, you can play laser tag, you can do bumper cars, you can play video games or you can just sit and rest and watch football, which is my personal favorite on Thanksgiving.

“It gives them something to do to work off that turkey.”

At HoneyBaked Ham, much of the holiday workout for Griffith and his staff comes from preparing thousands of hams in time for the holiday. The store is closed on Thanksgiving.

The spiral-sliced half ham is the most popular item, though Griffith said they also have “smoked and roasted turkey breasts, that we complement the meals with.”

“They are 3-pound turkey breasts,” he said. “It gives you two meat choices and they’re on special when you buy a ham.”

During their holiday dinner last year, Ted’s served about 400 people at The Avenue Forsyth location.

Germentz said restaurant staff enjoy a team meal together and get into the holiday cheer with their customers.

“It’s a different atmosphere,” he said. “We want to be available for our regular guests who maybe can’t make it home for the holiday and are also looking for a traditional Thanksgiving style meal in a restaurant setting.”

Whether families choose to go out for dinner or cook something at home, Jessica Smallwood said many end up with her on Thanksgiving.

The home office manager for Movies 400 said it’s one of the most popular days to watch a movie.  

“The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” “The Blind Side,” “Planet 51” and “Old Dogs” are this year’s holiday blockbusters, Smallwood said.

The newest in the Twilight series likely will be a big hit among teenagers, but Smallwood predicts “Old Dogs” will have a strong showing.

“This movie is directed toward families, so I think Robin Williams and John Travolta will draw a nice crowd for ‘Old Dogs,’” she said.
Smallwood said the theater on Atlanta Road in Cumming stays busy all day “because people eat at different times on Thanksgiving day.”

“Each set of showtimes will be just as busy ... it goes on all day long,” she said.