If you're the one cooking the turkey this year, you'd better have it thawing now. Especially if you've got a big bird. A 20+ pounder can take 5 - 6 days to thaw in the refrigerator. I put my 26-pound turkey in the fridge over the weekend. And this year - for once - I think I actually have the rest of our Thanksgiving feast shopping done already. Fears of shelves running out of necessary ingredients prompted my early preparation.

Not everyone will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. Perhaps it's just the two of you and it doesn't make sense to cook a giant bird. Or maybe you don't feel like spending all day ruining your kitchen and making a huge mess when your guests roll into town. While most restaurants are closed on Thanksgiving (including every pizza place and Chinese restaurant I called), you do have a handful of options in Billings to let someone else do the cooking.

Avoid a gas station hot dog, and try one of these places instead.

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Perkins

Good old Perkins is open until 2 pm on Thanksgiving day at both Billings locations. Don't forget to order a slice of their famous pies. Or maybe grab an entire pie to-go?

Credit: Michael Foth Townsquare Media

TEN at the Northern

One of the fanciest places on our "Restaurants Open in Billings on Thanksgiving" list is TEN at the Northern Hotel. They're offering a special three-course dinner from noon to 6 pm, with your choice of turkey, prime rib, salmon, or mushroom strudel. A kid's menu is also available. The reservation desk said spots are filling quickly, so don't delay if you want a table.

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Denny's

Denny's was one of the final restaurants to remain open 24 hours a day in Billings. It appears that is no longer the case, as restaurant hours for both Billings locations now say they're open from 6 am to midnight. However, they are still one of the few places open on Thanksgiving Day in Billings. Scarf down a Grand Slam and get on with your day.

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Cracker Barrel

A favorite for senior-aged diners (my mother-in-law LOVES Cracker Barrel), Billings Cracker Barrel is open normal hours on Thanksgiving Day. You can knock out some stocking stuffer shopping at their old-timey gift shop after your meal.

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Credit: Double Tree by Hilton

Montana Sky

The Billings Hotel and Convention center is not offering its Thanksgiving buffet this year, but you can still head to a hotel for breakfast or dinner at the Montana Sky Restaurant, on the 20th floor of the DoubleTree Hotel downtown. Not to be confused with the members-only Petroleum Club on the 22nd floor.

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The Montana Club

The Montana Club is a great Thanksgiving Day option for those who don't want to cook or don't have obligations elsewhere. They're offering a special Thanksgiving Dinner, but guests may also order from their everyday menu (it's humungous).

EDIT: The Feedlot Steakhouse in Shepherd is open with a Thanksgiving buffet from 11 am to 4 pm. Western Empire Emporium is open on Thanksgiving with a buffet from 10 am to 6 pm.

Are we missing any places on this list? If you know of other Billings restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving, let us know in the comments.

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