A whole new crop of Prague restaurants will be serving turkey and all the trimmings to homesick and hungry Americans in the Czech Republic in 2017.
Is Thanksgiving, like that other calorie-amped American holiday Halloween, seeing a rise in popularity in the Czech lands?
Perhaps, says Pavel Matoušek owner of the newly opened Dejvice free-range fried-chicken joint Chickin which will offer its first Thanksgiving menu (11/23) this year.
Matoušek credits the increase in Thanksgiving options to the restaurant boom the Czech capital has experienced in the past five years.
Chickin’s inaugural Thanksgiving celebration will include free-range turkey from a farm in Sedlčany as well as vegetarian chicken patties.
Another first-time Prague turkey feast will take place at California Republic (11/23), a Vinohrady bar and restaurant, opened in September by California transplant Chuck Greenlee.
Greenlee’s partner and bar co-owner Alexandra Boldina, says their decision to organize the event arose out of necessity: “Last year it was kind of a challenge to find a place to celebrate Thanksgiving,” Boldina told us.
She says that so far their guest list is almost entirely Americans who “don’t have the opportunity to cook at home and just want to go to someplace for a traditional dinner.”
At California Republic, that tradition will taste like grandma’s kitchen, down to the green bean casserole and dinner rolls.
For those seeking a more upscale take on the holiday Pod Zámkem in Průhonice is serving its first “Bohemian Thanksgiving Feast” (11/23).
Chef Jan Pýcha who honed the Thanksgiving classics during a recent stint in Houston says that he believes more and more Czechs have begun to embrace international holidays.
Chef Pýcha aims to give Prague’s American community a taste of Czech hospitality via his turkey with pecan stuffing and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, served in a homey setting near the grounds of Průhonice chateau.
Yet another notable and fairly new addition to the to Prague Thanksgiving scene is U Kurelů’s BBQ Smoked Turkey Dinner featuring a number of menu items to give thanks for – smoked barbecue ribs, pulled pork, corn pudding, pork belly stuffing, and pecan pie.
And while there are a number of newbies, the oldest Thanksgiving dinner in Prague (11/23) is still going strong.
Max Munson, owner of the Czech capital’s first American bar and grill Jáma, established his feast in 1994. He says that it has become a long-running annual custom for Czechs and Americans alike.
“The majority of our guests are mixed Czech-American couples and families. We will get some students and tourists, but most are Prague based. And each year we have a few all-Czech tables.” Maybe that’s why they’ve since added honey-glazed ham to the menu?
For those who prefer to keep their celebration an at-home affair, Culinaria’s three-day-long delivery service (Thursday 11/23 to Saturday 11/25, 12:00-18:00), acknowledges the fact that, in Czechia, the fourth Thursday in November is just another workday. And they have deviled eggs!
Longer-running feasts at Bohemia Bagel, Globe Bookstore & Cafe, and Hard Rock Cafe round out a burgeoning list of local events that pay tribute to a holiday where good company is just as important as great food.