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Santa Barbara hotels, restaurants ready for Thanksgiving

Harrys Plaza Cafe
Billy Schulte / KEYT
Harry's Plaza Cafe has already has secured over 700 reservations on Thanksgiving.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — We’re just a week away from Thanksgiving.

This year, things should look a lot different for hotels and restaurants in Santa Barbara.

At The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, its 358 rooms are already completely booked up for the upcoming holiday weekend.

“We’re very excited to be fully open this year as opposed to last year,” Ritz-Carlton Bacara senior marketing manager Derek Kokinda said. “As far as occupancy goes, we’re completely sold out for the weekend.”

With its’ indoor dining back in full force, the luxury resort’s Thanksgiving brunch is also already booked up.

So much so that The Ritz-Carlton Bacara added additional feasts on Friday, November 26th through Sunday, November 2nd.

“The brunches on Thanksgiving day are actually full, so we added additional brunches in all of our outlets to accommodate the demand,” Kokinda explained.

Next week signifies the start of the winter holiday season, so The Ritz-Carlton Bacara added additional staffing.

“We want to ensure that our guests are taken care of,” Kokinda said. “So we’ve been working on staffing up all year long and hiring hundreds of new employees.”

Across town at Harry's Plaza Cafe, the staff is preparing for plenty of people to pour in on Thanksgiving.

According to general manager Kevin Hebert, the restaurant already has secured over 700 reservations.

“Last year there was only outdoor seating and to-go’s,” he said. “This year with full capacity, plus outdoor seating, plus to-go’s, we’re expecting it to be a big year for us.”

Despite the nationwide turkey shortage, Harry’s planned ahead while ordering nearly 90 total turkeys well in advance.

“Traditionally we’ll do the turkey with the homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and homemade cranberry sauce,” Hebert said.

For Harry’s regular Bob Nelson, this week was difficult, as his wife Joanne passed away.

Yet that won’t stop the 87-year-old from stopping by his favorite spot on Thanksgiving.

“Although she’s not here anymore, everybody else I have as friends are here,” Nelson said. “Harry’s is so unique and so special, I love it.”

Nelson won’t be dining alone on Thanksgiving, as some of his family members plan on driving down from Orange County to sit with him in Harry’s iconic red leather booths.

Harry's Plaza Cafe will remain open from 11 a.m. till 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. To make a reservation, you can click here.

Thanksgiving brunch at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara will be served on Thursday, November 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It’ll also take place on Friday, November 26 through Sunday, November 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

To reserve this dining experience, you can visit their website.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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