This Thanksgiving, many Americans will reflect on the blessings they have in their lives. Most will be grateful for friends and family, some will exude pure grace for their football team winning on Thursday, while a few will celebrate that their politically inclined conversationalist relatives had their flights delayed.
Above all, the annual holiday is a time where most folks can celebrate with loved ones over a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. However, not everyone is able to partake.
For America’s professional truck drivers, the holiday has an ironic twist—a time of year when their duties are especially called upon.
Truck drivers are the backbone of holiday demand
While Santa Claus and his magical elves may stock households across the country with presents, there’s no mystical entity that supplies Thanksgiving with strokes of magic and holiday hoorah. The real heroes are pragmatic go-getters—truck drivers.
From holiday foodstuff staples, like bread, vegetables, cranberries, pumpkins, and whole turkeys, to other necessities, like fuel for cars and planes (around 50 million Americans travel during the holiday every year), truck drivers are the unassuming orchestrates behind an operational Thanksgiving.
On top of Thursday’s holiday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday follow days if not hours after, creating another area of needed support for drivers. These commercial “holidays” kickstart the winter shopping season where all sorts of retail products are heavily demanded by consumers.
All of this not only makes for a hectic week for drivers, but a hectic string of months.
Restaurants for a proper “Trucker Thanksgiving”
Given the demands Thanksgiving poses for truck drivers, it can be clear why they often leave an empty seat at family tables during the holiday. While it’s impossible to fully replace this intimate experience, there are restaurants that could at least satisfy their cravings for Thanksgiving food. The following are some driver-friendly dining establishments for a proper “Trucker Thanksgiving”.
The restaurant chain has approximately 437 locations across the Rust Belt region as well as Florida, Maryland, and Missouri.
Bob Evans will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and advertises homestyle holiday meals. This includes all of the staples, including pumpkin pie and sliced turkey or smoked ham.
Drivers can dine-in, order delivery, or pick up curbside in their big rig.
Boise Stage Shop
This truck stop is off Interstate 84, just south of Boise, Idaho. The large facility includes its own restaurant which will be serving a Thursday morning Thanksgiving feast.
Last year, truck drivers who showed a valid CDL card received their meals for free.
It’s not clear whether the same promotion will be in place this time around, however Boise Stage Shop is widely acclaimed by drivers for its hospitality.
The nationwide family-style chain is a popular destination for Thanksgiving-goers, including truck drivers. With over 650 locations across 45 states, Cracker Barrel is likely within a reasonable distance for most drivers to stop by.
The restaurant offers all holiday staples—whether that’s stuffing, turkey, ham, or sweet potato casserole. If possible, it’s recommended that drivers join the online waitlist early for quick service as these establishments take on a lot of traffic. After all, everyone’s grandparents frequent Cracker Barrel.
No reference for truck drivers would be complete without mentioning trucking’s Disneyland, Iowa 80.
Located off the Interstate 80 exit in Walcott, Iowa, the facility is the world’s largest truck stop. Among the stop’s sea of amenities is the Iowa 80 Kitchen.
On Thanksgiving Day, the restaurant will offer a full buffet, including Thanksgiving usuals, but also beef pot roast and fried chicken. The buffet will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, the restaurant itself remains open 24/7.
For a closer look at the impressive Iowa 80 truck stop, which includes a practicing dentist and movie theater, click here!
When huddling around the Thanksgiving table this year, consider showing gratitude for professional truck drivers. The ones who hauled 46 million turkeys, 80 million pounds of cranberries, and 250 million pounds of potatoes to ensure heartily stocked stores ahead of the special day.
So, who cares if a football team misses the game-tying field goal or a righteous relative exclaims their worldview of political anarchy—there’s food on the table, courtesy of truck drivers.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic or any others in domestic logistics. In addition, stay up to date with weekly headlines from both trucking and rail via our Road Map newsletter.
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