A big part of the annual Christmas tradition is the feasting.
Problem is, sometimes you simply can’t — or won’t — make a home-cooked meal.
So this Christmas, if you’re on the road or you burned the turkey (or maybe you just don’t feel like cooking), there are options.
Of course, many chain restaurants are reportedly open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, including Applebee’s, Buca di Beppo, Black Bear Diner, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Golden Corral, IHOP, Marie Callender’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Panda Express, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and Village Inn.
You’ll want to check with individual locations to confirm their holiday hours, as they can vary.
But if none of those possibilities float your Christmas-chow boat, here are a few other places to consider for a good holiday meal:
• Tokyo Station, 2259 Washington Blvd., Ogden. 801-627-8288.
This teppanyaki and sushi restaurant in downtown Ogden will be open from 4-9:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Reservations are required for parties of eight or more.
Tokyo Station will be closed on Christmas Day.
• Garage on Beck, 1199 Beck St., Salt Lake City. 801-521-3904.
Garage on Beck is offering Chinese food and cocktails from noon to 6 p.m. (“or while supplies last,” it warns) on Christmas Day. The bar and grill is hosting its second annual Dec. 25 event, called “Uncle Bob’s Chinese Christmas Buffet.” The cost is is $13.
Note: This is a 21-and-older establishment, so no kiddies.
• The hospital
That’s right, hospital food. And relax, it’s MUCH better than it was in the good old days.
Since injury and illness don’t take a day off, usually neither does a hospital’s food services.
For example, Ogden Regional Medical Center’s cafeteria is open 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. Although it won’t feature anything special like a turkey dinner, the cafeteria will offer a full-service grill with two hot entrees, a couple of soups and sandwiches, and assorted other foods.
The ORMC cafeteria isn’t open on Christmas Eve, but that’s no different than any other day — the cafeteria is no longer open in the evening. The hospital does, however, offer a vending area with items like microwavable mac-and-cheese, fruit and snacks, just in case.
• Hit the casinos
Sure, it’s 157 miles away (according to Google Maps), but the casinos in West Wendover, Nevada, NEVER close, with their assortment of restaurants, gaming and all-you-can-eat buffets.
And if that’s just a little too far? You could always head for the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel on the Fort Hall Native American reservation in southeastern Idaho. That one’s 15 miles closer (again, according to Google Maps).
• Snowbasin Resort, 3925 E. Snowbasin Road, Huntsville. 888-437-5488.
And finally, if you’re looking for the full home-away-from-home holiday experience, you might want to consider a trip up the canyon to Snowbasin.
Christmas Eve is a big day of celebration at the ski resort, beginning at 4 p.m. when the ski lifts stop spinning for the day. There’s free gingerbread cooking-decorating from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a visit from Santa from 5:15-7 p.m., featuring free photos with the Jolly Old Elf.
Free ‘smores will also be offered on the plaza from 5:30-7 p.m.
And for those who don’t want to cook, a full Christmas Eve dinner is available from 4:30-8 p.m. in Earl’s Lodge. The classic dinner comes with a choice of turkey, ham, roast beef or vegetarian acorn squash, with all the trimmings, for $30. Desserts are available for $4.50.
Reservations are not accepted, and guests are encouraged to eat closer to 4:30 p.m., as it can get quite crowded.
At 7 p.m. the torchlight parade starts, with employees and guests skiing down the mountain with flares. The evening caps off with fireworks.
The ski resort and all amenities are also open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Day.