Thanksgiving brings a much-needed rush for some Philadelphia restaurants

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In the midst of a pandemic, many - if not most - are enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving meal in a whole new way.

For some, that means hitting the kitchen, and for others that means dining out - maybe for the first time on Thanksgiving.

Some local restaurants are open and serving up meals while following new dining guidelines.

"Today is going to be the best sales day we've had all year by probably five or six times," said Devil's Alley manager Christopher Younge. "It's definitely a shot in the arm.

On both Wednesday and Thursday, to-go order assembly lines filled restaurants like Devil's Alley.

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With indoor dining banned, Devil's Alley is offering outside seating, but only five tables.

Morning showers may have scared afternoon and evening diners away.

In West Oak Lane, Relish continues their Thanksgiving to-go. Here they leave cooking the bird up to customers, but offer nine side dishes and dessert.

Wendy Wolf of Relish says they sold out, doubling the number of orders they sold last year.

"This is the busiest year we've ever had and we've been doing this for about 10 years," said Wolf. "I think it's a combo of things: I think people are tired of cooking because everybody is at home. I think there's an interest in supporting local business. And we're living in stressful times and I think people are looking for ways to reduce the stress, enjoy themselves and have a nice meal without having to do the hard work."

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Last week, city officials enacted the strictest orders and advisories in the state amid the growing number of COVID-19 cases.

Restaurants had to reverse course once again and go from 25 percent capacity to a ban on indoor dining until at least the new year.

Additionally, Gov. Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine initiated travel advisories and, like the city, have instructed people to keep Thanksgiving among only those in your household.

Younge thinks that is one factor in the increase in takeout.

"I think that's mostly a reflection of not being able to go out and dine in," Younge said. "In previous years I've done a majority of dine-in service."

Restaurant owners say customers' uncertainty over making plans this year means there are still reservations for those who wish to dine out.
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