Come this Thanksgiving, George Lyles, owner of The Turkey Grill on Woodward Avenue in Detroit's New Center area, says he'll sell about 800 whole turkeys, either deep fried or smoked. It's the busiest time of the year, followed by Christmas.
An accountant by trade, Lyles, a native of Yazoo City, Miss., gave up on that profession to open The Turkey Grill at 8290 Woodward Ave. about 20 years ago in an area lined with too many fast food joints. Some customers, he says, have come to the carry-out restaurant, saying their doctors told them they had to find a healthier alternative.
Near Euclid Street, north of the New Center, He serves whole turkeys, gumbo, breakfast with turkey sausage, turkey meatloaf, turkey meatballs, turkey vegetable soup, fried cajun turkey wings, fried cajun turkey bites, cornish hens wood-smoked, poached wings, collard greens, mashed potatoes and a turkey burger he says is " off the chain." A whole turnkey, smoked or fried, goes for $53 and a turkey burger sells for $8.
The restaurant does carryout and has limited seating for dining in. The deep fryer and smoker are outside in the back of the shop.
Deadline Detroit stopped by to chat with Lyles as he and his staff gear up for the Thanksgiving rush. He also talks about future plans to expand.