Whether you’re celebrating Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, buying a prepared dish—or whole meal—gives you and your loved ones more time to connect.
These 23 restaurants and caterers near Milwaukee and Madison have you covered when it comes to premade holiday meals for whichever holiday you’re celebrating.
Local Meals for Diwali
When it comes to food, Diwali—the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains—is all about sweetness. In an article for the Milwaukee news channel TMJ4, Bombay Sweets owner Kanwl Singh said, “Sweets are considered a token of love and no celebration is complete without it.” Singh’s shop offers just the thing: a custom sweet box where you can choose from a range of vegan Diwali favorites, including barfi, halwa, and laddu.
In addition to sweets, consuming homemade (often vegetarian) snacks is another significant part of Diwali celebrations. Those near west Madison or Sun Prairie can order tasty samosas and crispy Aloo dishes from highly rated and affordable restaurant Swagat, while those near Brookfield can pick up from the much-loved Shri Foods, which boasts a five-star rating on Yelp.
Local Meals for Thanksgiving
If you want to put the emphasis on quality time with family this Thanksgiving instead of spending hours in the kitchen, getting a catered meal is the way to go. Fortunately, there are scores of delicious restaurants and catering companies in southern Wisconsin that step up to the plate (literally).
First up, there’s crowd favorite Saz’s Hospitality Group, which offers a Thanksgiving menu every year. Although there are multiple a-la-carte options like mac and cheese and applewood smoked ham, the 2023 full dinner (which costs $150 for four servings) includes all the traditional dishes: pre-carved turkey, mashed potatoes, sage stuffing, green beans almondine, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, harvest salad, dinner rolls, and apple or pumpkin pie.
Salvatore’s is another Thanksgiving go-to for southern Wisconsinites. This year, there are three different pickup locations (North Livingston Street, Monona, and Sun Prairie), and the meals for four come with a three-bottle wine pairing as well as a Wollersheim Press House brandy and old fashioned mix.
For a farm-to-table Turkey Day experience, Pasture & Plenty in Madison is the way to go. There are several options including the “Local Love” Thanksgiving Crate, farm-to-freezer side dishes, local turkey and brine kits, Thanksgiving pies, and so much more.
The award-winning restaurant Eldr+Rime in Wauwatosa is offering Thanksgiving carry-out Packages starting at $175. The dishes—including apple and sage sourdough stuffing and sweet potato and butternut squash hash—come chilled with simple instructions for reheating.
Other top-rated restaurants and caterers offering Thanksgiving meals include Eno Vino in Waunakee, Kegel’s Inn (which puts a German flare on the meal) and Miss Molly’s Cafe in Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin Union at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Local Meals for Hanukkah
This year, the Jewish holiday called Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) takes place between December 7-15. Food is a significant part of the eight-day celebration, as one Milwaukee-based catering company knows well.
Serving the greater Milwaukee area, Hannah’s Kitchen is the best place to preorder your Hanukkah goodies. You can pick up the traditional treat of sufganiyot (a cross between a beignet and a jelly donut) daily between December 7-15. For other food (like her adorable Hanukkah cookies and kosher dishes), you’ll have to put in your order at least one day ahead of time.
Moreover, Hannah’s Kitchen offers catering for various group sizes. One happy Yelp reviewer wrote, “Hannah prepared and delivered a multi-course meal to a family with less than 12 hours notice. The food was delicious and plentiful. She was very professional and responsive and a pleasure to work with.” Another wrote, “We have a picky family when it comes to food and quality, and we loved every ounce of the meal. Couldn’t have been happier and can’t wait until the next time eating her food!”
Those near Madison will want to check out Adamah Neighborhood Table, which is the only kosher-certified restaurant in the city. The fast-casual eatery offers traditional Hanukkah foods like brisket (including the fan-favorite “Ain’t No Challah Back” sandwich) and sufganiyot. They also cater for events.
Local Meals for Christmas
Gift yourself a catered or prepped meal this Christmas and it will be better than any present waiting for you under the tree.
For Christmas 2023, Milwaukee’s Tall Guy and a Grill catering is offering a spectacular holiday menu featuring local ingredients, appetizers and trays, multiple hot bar collections (priced per person), a-la-carte options, dessert platters, and more. Plus, the company offers a traveling bar service called The Crafted Tavern, which will surely make your holiday parties especially festive. The Madison soul food spot Melly Mell’s also has three family-style holiday meals: the Holiday Comfort Dinner, Holiday Brisket Dinner, and Cozy Veggie Bake Dinner, each with options available to serve two, five, or 10 guests.
There are a few other restaurants that have offered holiday meals in the past but have yet to announce their 2023 specials, so you’ll have to follow their websites or social media accounts for updates.
In Milwaukee, DanDan typically offers Christmas Peking duck to-go, which includes two other courses and serves two to three guests. The award-winning fine-dining restaurant Birch has offered holiday brunch, take & bake dinners, and bundled sides in the past. Lastly, CAVAS usually offers delectable Spanish holiday meals that include dessert and Spanish sparkling wine.
Local Meals for Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa, which will be celebrated from December 26, 2023, to January 1, 2024, is an annual celebration of African culture. Unlike some of the other holidays on this list, there aren’t specific traditional dishes that are usually consumed during Kwanzaa. According to the Food Network, “Kwanzaa food, at its simplest, is any dish people cook for Kwanzaa.” Therefore, observants will enjoy a range of foods from many areas of the African diaspora, from mac and cheese and jerk chicken to Ghanaian groundnut stew and jollof rice.
For tasty African and Caribbean meals in south Milwaukee, the food truck, restaurant, and catering company Frankies is the place to order from. As one enthusiastic Yelp reviewer wrote, “It should be illegal how tender and tasty the food is.”
For Ethiopian and East African cuisine that’s to die for, order from Madison’s BURAKA. The popular restaurant mainly serves savory stews served over rice or injera (Ethiopian flatbread), but it also serves family platters that are perfect to order for a Kwanzaa get-together with family. Lastly, Immy’s African Cuisine in Milwaukee is well-known for its delicious flavors, whether it’s fried plantains, fufu (pounded African yam), curries, or vegan egusi.
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