Fast Food and Restaurant Chains Open on Christmas in the U.S.

IHOP and Applebees
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Big family gatherings and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feasts are not always a tradition for every family. In fact, a growing number of Americans prefer the no-muss-no-fuss tradition of dining out at a restaurant for the holidays.

The largest U.S. restaurant chains tend to be open on these days, but this decision is usually left up to the local manager, so you should call ahead to the specific location just to make sure.

Why Do Restaurants Close on Christmas Day?

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are not the highest revenue-producing days across the restaurant industry, according to the National Restaurant Association. However, this tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy because a significant number of restaurants choose to close or operate with shorter hours anyway.

According to a survey by Nation's Restaurant News, only about 10 percent of Americans eat out on Christmas Eve, and that number drops even further to 6 percent on Christmas Day. Compare that to the 44 percent who generally eat and drink in a restaurant on New Year's Eve, and the 28 percent who depend on restaurants to help them get over their hangovers on New Year's Day each year.

However, restaurant chains like Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, and even McDonald's are generally closed by 8:00 p.m. on major holidays, if they open at all. That leaves only 24/7 restaurant chains like Denny's, IHOP, and Waffle House as Christmas dining out options. These limited choices are part of the reason diners to tend to stay home and cook for themselves on these holidays.

Yet, according to diner surveys by Nation's Restaurant News, when you do the math, you'll find that even this small percentage of consumers adds up to about 50 million people. If you're counting yourself as one of those 50 million looking for a bite to eat on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, here are some dependable restaurants you can expect to be open.

Waffle House
 Waffle House 

2019 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Restaurant Hours

This year, here are some national and regional chain restaurants you can count on to serve up something hot and delicious for Christmas year:

  • Applebee'sMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 
  • Baker's SquareOn Christmas Eve and Day, locations will be open, but the hours will be reduced.
  • Benihana: Most are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve. Hours may be reduced. 
  • Bob Evans RestaurantsMost are typically closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve. 
  • Ponderosa and Bonanza SteakhouseMost are typically closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve. 
  • Bonefish GrillMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 
  • Boston Market: Many Boston Market shops are open Christmas Day. Check the website for a list of locations that are open.
  • Buca di Beppo Italian RestaurantsNormal hours are 8 to 9:00 p.m. but the chain has no standard holiday hours policy so call ahead. They often prepare order-ahead take out holiday meals.
  • Carrabba's Italian GrillMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 
  • Corner BakeryMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve.
  • Cracker BarrelMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve. 
  • Del TacoMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.
  • Denny’sMost are open 24/7, 365 days a year, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Dickey's Barbecue PitMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve.
  • Fleming's Prime SteakhouseMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve. Hours may be reduced. 
  • Golden Corral: Most are open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • HomeTown BuffetMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve.
  • Hooters: Most are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve. Hours may be reduced.
  • Hurricane Grill & WingsMost are closed on Christmas Day but are open on Christmas Eve. Hours may reduced.
  • IHOPMost locations are open 24/7, 365 days a year. 
  • Jack in the BoxMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve. 
  • McDonald'sSome locations are open on Christmas, but not all of them. However, most will be open on Christmas Eve.
  • Old Country BuffetMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve.
  • Olive GardenMost Olive Garden restaurants are closed on Christmas Day, but some may be open at reduced hours. Most will also be open on Christmas Eve, but you should call the restaurant ahead of time to make sure.
  • Pizza HutPizza Hut is typically closed on Christmas Day, but hours vary by location.
  • StarbucksMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve, although hours may be reduced. 
  • Steak ‘n ShakeMost are closed on Christmas Day, but are open on Christmas Eve. Some may be open on Christmas Day, but operating at reduced hours.
  • TGI Friday’sMost restaurants are open on Christmas Eve, but only some are open on Christmas Day.
  • Waffle House: Most are open 24/7, 365 days a year, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Was this page helpful?