The holidays can be magical; they’re full of love and light with family and friends. But, along with fancy dinner parties and glamorous get-togethers comes the stress of putting together and taking down the Thanksgiving feast. Whether you’re having long-distance relatives in for the weekend or you’re an empty-nester, catering – or eating out – might be additional options to alleviate the stresses of hosting. Here is our round-up of the most convenient and beautiful holiday spreads in the city.


You’ve tried the traditional turkey, and it’s just not quite what you want for the who-knows-how-long year in a row. Well, you’re in luck! Varanese has a unique spin on the holiday favorite: Turkducken, aka TurkeyDuckChicken. The restaurant has been producing the entrée for 12 years in two different styles: the whole bird with chicken, duck and turkey and just the breast meat, both with alternate layers of dressing.

Whether you want a 4-pounder up to however heavy, Varanese has the bird for you, and it will always be fresh, according to owner John Varanese. The meal can be ordered hot and ready or to be made for pick-up. “You can’t really screw them up,” John says about the 12-hour cook-time; just pop it in the oven overnight and pull it out in the morning.

The restaurant will take orders anytime to be picked up  for office parties and holiday gatherings, and it serves Turducken at the restaurant from the third weekend in November to New Year’s Eve. Varanese can also cook up sides like butter-whipped potatoes, sweet potato casserole, bone-stock gravy and cranberry chutney, but the bird is the restaurant's claim to fame. “(Turkducken) is something unique to Varanese, and Varanese is something unique to Louisville,” says John. To order, call 502-899-9904.

2106 Frankfort Avenue | Louisville, Ky | | 502-899-9904


If a host wants a party guest to have a good time, they must provide food from beginning to end. A get-together can be ruined if the hangry guests aren’t fed until the entree, so that’s where appetizers come in. Board & You, of New Albany, creates custom boards of meats, cheeses and spreads, making the experience of your next gathering as “elevated and unique as possible,” says Sean Lara, co-owner and creative mastermind behind Board & You.

Sean grew up sharing food with family during holiday festivities, which led him to his career of adding themes and uniqueness to charcuterie boards, along with his business partner Zack Flanagan. The winter months are “extremely busy” for the company, as Sean creates boards with warm flavors by adding rosemary, cinnamon and apples with a variety of cheeses and meats. This year, Sean is adding homemade maple butter made with bourbon maple syrup, which he says, pairs perfectly with a St. André triple crème Brie. Client favorites also include apple butter and spiced-cherry preserve for a “seasonal taste.”

Sean says his appetizers provide a centerpiece for holiday happenings, and he finds it fun to watch people graze and combine flavors. “Holidays are all about bringing people together … and (the boards) really do bring people together,” Sean says. The beautiful spreads are a “conversation piece,” he says. “What we have is a great thing for every party.”

What separates Board & You from other companies, Sean says, is that they have “something for every one,” from $13 boxes to larger spreads for parties. “It differentiates us by making us a fit for anyone hosting no matter what your budget looks like,” he says. Order from Board & You at or by calling 502-777-6516. | 502-777-6516


Whether you like a traditional holiday meal or a holiday meal with international flair, Ladyfingers Catering has a menu for you and your family. Owner Deborah Lowery says her company has traditional, homestyle dishes, as well as “unique spins on traditional” with many international dishes.  Two of her favorite international dishes are Meatballs with Sunday Gravy and Paella.

Deborah, herself, comes from an Eastern European and Italian family where the holidays revolved around food and dinner parties with 50 to 75 family members and friends. Louisville families can order favorites from her company like Bourbon Butter Roasted Turkey, Ale-81 Glazed Ham, Scalloped Corn Pudding and Green Bean Casserole with Wild Mushroom Bisque.  All of Deborah's dishes are “homemade and prepared with upscale, fresh and local ingredients,” she says. “We have a lot of people ordering traditional menus too, with a Kentucky theme and bourbon flair.”

Ladyfingers can even use your personal dishes, cookware or platters; and no worries; all dishes come with re-heating instructions for those who need a little help. “It’s a secret between us and our clients,” Deborah whispers with a smile.

So what is Deborah's number one tip for getting through the holiday season? Deborah says, “Make a list and prep ingredients ahead of time.”  To order from Ladyfingers Catering go online look under Gourmet to Go or call 502-245-7734. | 502-245-7734


It’s 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, and as the dishes pile high, you promise yourself “never again.” What if you could save the mess for someone else but still enjoy a lavish meal with loved ones? You can, thanks to Bristol Bar and Grille’s holiday buffet. All three area locations are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, so you can take family and friends out instead of bringing them in and causing a huge amount of stress for yourself.

The buffet has been served for the last few years and has been “very well-received,” according to Bristol’s Master Sommelier Scott Harper. The buffet includes traditional meats like turkey, salmon and ham, as well as sides like green beans, mashed potatoes, fruit, salad and a slew of desserts. “It used to be that Thanksgiving was not a very big eat out time,” Scott says. “I think that’s all changed in the busy world we live in.” Scott says hosts typically would rather cater or eat out because of the convenience.

If you do want to eat in the restaurant’s catering service provides all the fixings. “We can cater to whatever people like,” he says. For reservations or catering services, call Bristol Bar and Grille at its Highlands location at 502-456-1702; East Location at 502-426-0627; Downtown location at 502-582-1995; and Catering at 502-584-3663.
(highlands) 502-456-1702 | (Downtown) 502-582-1995 | (East) 502-426-0627


Do you have a holiday party coming up for your corporation? Or do you just want to add a classy touch to your dinner party? ELM Catering can help tie the bow on a fabulous food presentation. “During the holidays, corporate clients want cheese, charcuterie, anti-pasto and sandwich trays for department gatherings or an afternoon treat,” according to ELM Catering owner Laura Meyer. Companies also send trays to customers as a yearly “thank you,” too.

Full meals for gatherings and boxed lunches are still a “favorite” for customers. Laura says her company gets calls to cater vegetables and desserts for family meals or the “fixings” to complete a spread. “With the holidays being so busy, some people like to entertain small gatherings at home as opposed to going out,” Laura says. “It could be anything from appetizers, trays or a full meal. With busy schedules, it’s nice to have food delivered, so they can enjoy their guests with no dirty dishes to clean up.”

Both Laura’s maternal and paternal grandmothers were “great hostesses,” she says. “I learned hospitality from being in the kitchen from a very early age. My whole family was all about getting together with fabulous food. It makes me smile serving good food to good people.”

So, what is Laura’s No. 1 tip for the holiday season? “Relax and enjoy family and friends,” she says. “That’s why some think it’s worth a little more to have their party catered so they can focus on what’s really important.” | 502-445-1888

Posted on 2019-11-13 by By Taylor Riley | Photos by Danny Alexander