That Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2018 happen to fall on two of what are already the slowest days in the restaurant week means dining options during the holiday is pretty slim this year.
Many Asian restaurants, like Journey Buffet and Grill near East Towne Mall, are open both Monday and Tuesday. Imperial Garden West on Allen Boulevard in Middleton is taking reservations between 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve only. Edo Garden Hibachi in Monona will be open for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. and on Christmas night from 4-10 p.m.
We didn’t call every one, but chances are good your favorite Chinese place is open for the holidays. Find a list of chains open on the holidays here, though be advised of local variation — Applebee’s on Whitney Way, for example, is open Christmas Eve but closed Christmas Day.
All of the restaurants in Food Fight Restaurant Group will be closed Christmas Day. Some are open on Christmas Eve, though none for dinner. Some of those open: Avenue Club and the Bubble Up Bar (brunch only), Craftsman Table and Tap (lunch only), Hubbard Avenue Diner and Market Street Diner (both 7 a.m.-3 p.m.) and Monty's Blue Plate Diner, open for breakfast and lunch until 4 p.m.
Here are a few additional options for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which we’ll update as more information rolls in. When in doubt or with a big family group, call ahead for a reservation.
1847 at the Stamm House, 6625 Century Ave., Middleton
Owner Troy Rost says this updated Middleton supper club is giving its employees Christmas Day off, but they’ll be open Christmas Eve from 4:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. A four course surf and turf menu featuring lobster and a 6 ounce beef tenderloin will cost $50. At the bar, try a hot toddy with Benedictine, lemon and star anise and a Christmas Stamm Mule featuring Edinburgh Gin which, as Rost pointed out, “contains frankincense and myrrh.”
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Doty Street, Hilldale, Cottage Grove and Fitchburg)
The Great Dane runs a limited menu on Christmas Day from 5 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.
“It’s like a mellow fun little holiday time,” said Reese Railling, a manager who’s scheduled to work it. The bar menu includes “burgers, mac and cheese, chicken wings.”
Railling said that among the staff, “everybody picks one holiday” to work.
“It’s a bummer to leave home and go to Christmas and come back early, but it’s fun, and you catch all the misfits from town,” he said. “The vibe is usually really fun.”
Sumo Sushi and Steakhouse, 1745 Parkside Drive
For some festive entertainment with your meal, Sumo will have open hibachi tables and offer reservations for an all-day holiday dinner on Christmas Day. Hours are 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Capital ChopHouse, 9 E. Wilson St.
Located inside the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, the ChopHouse will be open on Christmas Eve all day, including breakfast and lunch. The prime rib will be featured as a special on Christmas Eve starting at 5 p.m. and serving until 9 p.m. On Christmas Day the restaurant is open for a breakfast buffet only and closes at noon.
Joon, 1835 Monroe St.
Even before the new restaurant opens after the first of the year, Joon proprietor Laila Borokhim is serving a special lamb dinner on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with proceeds going to refugee resettlement organizations. Dinner on both days will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and reservations (via Facebook) are recommended but not required.
The Statehouse at the Edgewater, 1001 Wisconsin Place
Offering probably the best views in Madison over the holidays, the fine dining flagship of the Edgewater hotel will serve breakfast, lunch and a limited dinner menu on Christmas Eve, an elaborate brunch on Christmas Day and another limited dinner that evening.
The Christmas Grand Brunch Buffet, set for Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., will feature “a prime rib carving station, cherry-glazed local Wisconsin ham, fork smashed sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus ... a shrimp cocktail display and chestnut and celery root bisque.” The dessert table will be heavy with treats, too, “black forest cake, Christmas pudding and gingerbread cheesecake pops” among them. Get the full menu here.
Cost for the buffet on Christmas Day is $52 for adults, $46 for seniors, $24 for kids 5-12 years old and free for children younger than 5, plus a 22 percent service charge and tax. Call for reservations: 535-8167.
Camp Trippalindee at the Graduate Hotel, 601 Langdon St.
The delightfully kitschy northern Wisconsin-themed bar on the top of the Graduate near the University of Wisconsin-Madison will keep its bar and kitchen open on Dec. 24 until 9 p.m. It will be closed Christmas Day.
Lilliana’s, 2951 Triverton Pike, Fitchburg
Dave Heide’s New Orleans-themed restaurant serves an annual Christmas Eve dinner. This year’s menu will be on offer from 5-8 p.m. on Monday, featuring pumpkin bisque with gingerbread croutons, duck confit salad with goat cheese and pomegranate vinaigrette, turkey roulade with spinach and cranberries and a peppermint mocha mousse, garnished with candy cane crumbles. Cost for adults is $45, $15 for kids and children under 2 eat free.
Badger Tavern, 1612 Seminole Hwy
This west side bar (formerly Tony Frank's) is closed on Christmas Eve but open on Christmas Day starting at 4 p.m. They will serve fried food only unless "unless (the) bartender decides to turn the grill on," according to a Facebook inquiry. "People may call on Christmas after 4 to find out."
Wilson’s Bar and Grill, 2144 Atwood Ave.
As always, this friendly east side sports bar is open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day starting at 11 a.m. Stop in for a burger, beer and free popcorn.
Blue Moon Bar & Grill, 2535 University Ave.
Blue Moon Bar gets busy on Christmas according to manager Stephanie Paull, who works the holiday every year. On Christmas Day she will open the doors at 5 p.m. and keep the grill going until midnight.
“We have a lot of regular customers, so a lot of times they come in for a drink,” Paull said.
With the hospital close by, Paull said, “people from out of town with somebody in the hospital need to get out of the hospital for the holidays. ... A lot of people don’t have people to spend Christmas with, too.
“We’re always open, always busy,” she added. “We play holiday movies. I love working here on Christmas.”
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, 750 N. Midvale Blvd.
Reservations at this west side steakhouse franchise start at 3 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve only. Fleming’s swanky prix fixe holiday menu begins with a choice of wild mushroom soup or a seafood wedge salad, followed by surf and turf — filet mignon and lobster tail — and concluding with pumpkin cheesecake. Cost is $92. Fleming’s will be closed Christmas Day.