Cruising for Food on Christmas Day


You can’t believe how many people are out cruising, looking to eat out on Christmas Day–till you hit the road and begin driving around, trying to find restaurants that are open. From singles living alone to seniors by themselves, and millions of California residents who don’t celebrate Christmas or prefer not to cook, California’s population is in an awkward and challenging spot on December 25 when it comes to eating out.

If you begin calling restaurants, you’ll be amazed to discover how many chain restaurants are closed. It is the one day that society tells employees to stay home (except for airlines, hotels, etc.) If you’re looking for places to eat out rather than cook a meal, here are a few observations we’ve gathered over several years:

Looking for food on Christmas Day:

  • Hotel restaurants usually serve food on Christmas. If you can’t find anywhere else, you can head for a hotel that has a restaurant and pay a bit more for a meal. Don’t be surprised if you pay a lot more, however. Many hotels offer a special Christmas dinner menu at a fixed price seldom less than $25 person, and usually more in the range of $50-80!
  • Buca di Beppo ( is open for Christmas. Call your individual location if you have one and confirm. We’ve eaten at Buca for Christmas and they told us 2 years ago they were trying it out to see if it would work. The place had modified hours on Christmas day but was absolutely packed when we ate there!
  • El Torito ( is open Christmas and New Year’s for Brunch and Dinner (check specific locations)
  • Denny’s ( advertises it is ALWAYS open.
  • Carrow’s is open in some locations with limited hours such as 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Tourist destinations and city centers will usually have a few restaurants open, serving holiday traditions and local and visitor populations.
  • Asian neighborhoods and regions tend to offer more open restaurants. The Asian populations generally do not celebrate Christmas and places such as Redondo Beach, Calif. offer a variety of fish restaurants on the Redondo Beach Pier Christmas Day. The same is true in San Francisco.
  • Start looking now, today! You’ll get someone answering the phone if you call today but if you call on Christmas Day, you’ll have no way of knowing if they are open when the phone goes unanswered. Some restaurants that stay open are simply swamped on Christmas Day and don’t have time to pick up the phone.
  • Grocery store as last resort – If you have expired all other options, head to a major chain grocery store that sells baked chickens and deli meats. Sometimes they will sell rotisserie chickens available on Christmas. But do it before 5 p.m. because the pickings are slim and their baking facilities close early, as do the stores, themselves, on this one special holiday.

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