The holidays are a time to eat, drink, and be merry. But what if you don’t happen to have a way to prepare a home-cooked Christmas dinner? Or maybe you don’t recognize the holiday? While Christmas Day is by far the most likely day for many restaurants to be closed (even some of the many restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day seem to take the day off), there are a few, very popular options for hungry diners. For 2016, the list of restaurants open Christmas Day (December 25th) include Denny’s and Panda Express!
Popular Restaurants Open Christmas Day
While we should note that participation may vary from location to location, most of the restaurants on our list have historically been open for Christmas Day. They may have limited hours on this day, or they could possibly even decide to serve just lunch. In any case, it is always recommended that you call ahead to get details on hours and menu availability before arriving.
This restaurant is always open on holidays, with Christmas being no exception. In fact, historically, the restaurant sees record numbers of guests on December 25th. The most popular dishes of the day are the Slam Breakfast platters, but they usually also serve over 390,000 cups of coffee, too! You might want to arrive early and avoid eating from 12-1pm, which is their busiest time of day.
Yes, they are open! Serving breakfast pancakes and special holiday-themed specials, this restaurant is likely to be open in your neighborhood on Christmas Day. Rarely, a restaurant may not stay open the full 24 hours on the special holiday, however, so call ahead to be certain they are not closing early.
This southern-inspired dining locale will be slathering the gravy on Christmas, just like they do every other day of the year. They boast a 24/7/365 schedule to give everyone the chance to get in the holiday spirit over a piping fresh plate of waffles!
For many people, there’s nothing more traditional than eating Chinese food on the big day. Panda Express has been one of the most consistent restaurants open Christmas day, and they also do quite a bit of charity work on December 25th. (In the past, they have given free meals to military families and non-profits.) Each location is independently-owned and operated, so call ahead to ensure you favorite spot is welcoming diners!
Buca di Beppo
This fine Italian-American eatery sees quite a few guests on Christmas. Maybe that’s why they encourage diners to make reservations ahead of time. Their Christmas lunch and dinner have a reputation for being a delicious way to enjoy family-style dining, and the food items include eggplant parm, big bowls of pasta, and delicious side salads and appetizers. Don’t delay if you plan on dining; many locations books up quickly in the week leading up to the holiday. Most locations open at 11 am.
This coffee shop has been known to have limited hours on holidays, and locations inside grocery stores, malls, and retailers such as Target will likely not be open. If you are fortunate to live next to a stand-alone location, you can grab a cup of joe, as well as a selection of baked goods, breakfast items, and sandwiches, where available.
More established store locations are usually open this day. Some newer stores, however, have announced they will be closed both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The lesson? Call ahead.
Most company-owned locations are open on Christmas day, but that means a good number if independently-operated stores will not. In addition, McDonald’s inside places such as Walmart or retail big box stores may or may not. You’ll want to call ahead. (You can also search for the big long lines wrapped around the buildings. McDonald’s seems to be popular this time of year!)
There are a few other chain restaurants that have been open on past Christmas holidays, but they are so inconsistent you can’t assume they will be. There is a chance that calling ahead will get you into select locations of the following:
- Baskin Robbins
- Boston Market
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Golden Corral
- Jack in the Box
- Pizza Hut
Also See: Restaurants Open Thanksgiving Day
Some small, local Chinese food restaurants are likely to open in most urban communities, as well, but you will want to ask around among those you know who will be dining out. Some will not advertise their hours, but will gladly tell you if asked. The regulars who have been dining at Asian cuisine destinations on Christmas every year can tell you which ones are the best places to visit!
Remember, because there are fewer restaurants open Christmas Day than there are restaurants open Thanksgiving Day, the lines and waits may be significantly longer to be fed. If a restaurant does offer reservations, take advantage of it. And if you know of a location that is a bit out-of-the-way from the most populated urban areas, you might have a better chance of being seated at these establishments. One other option to consider is carry out. If you don’t mind eating at home (or in the car), you can call ahead with your order and choose to leave the coveted booths and tables for someone else this holiday.