Finding restaurants open on Christmas Day 2012 in San Francisco can be tough if you are on a budget. While there are plenty of lists of restaurants that charge $65 or more per person to sit at their Christmas table, some people are simply looking for any place with a cheap hot meal. It is also a common misconception that fast food or 24-hour restaurants will be open on Christmas.
For these reasons, you can stop searching through pages upon pages of searching engine results and take a look at these top 10 restaurants open on December 31, 2012. All of these dining choices were verified in December 2012 by phone.
Do not forget your extra Holiday tips
Throughout San Francisco, many restaurants do not answer their phone. In these cases, plan ahead by talking with the staff directly to verify whether they will be open on Christmas Day. Also, since the holiday season is about giving, do not forget to add extra money to your tips and question any “no-tipping” rules the restaurant regularly has.
1. Non-Christmas Day dinner with the Empress of China
Posts on public forums like ChowHound discuss how non-Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas by going to Chinese Restaurants. Testing this theory, the Empress of China at 838 Grant Ave. verified by phone that they will be serving on December 25, 2012.
2. Zante Pizza has vegan and vegetarian options
Do you want pizza or curry for lunch or dinner on December 25? Zante Pizza and Indian Cuisine at 3489 Mission St. stated that their staff are ready for the Christmas Day rush. Do not forget to try their Best Indian Pizza that includes “spinach, egg plant, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, green onions, cilantro, lamb, tandoori chicken and prawns. To boot, the Best Indian Pizza is available in vegan, and vegetarian style.
3. Some Taco Bell’s are not open Christmas Day
For some, it seems like Taco Bell will be open on December 25th since they are well known for having late hours that other restaurants do not have. Sadly, the store at 691 Eddy St. said that their location was closed on Christmas Day. Regardless, the employees that answered the phone said that the rules are not the same for each location. To verify if your local Taco Bell is open, call the store listed at the nationwide website.
4. Carl’s Jr. has your hungry nephew covered on December 25th
You finished Christmas dinner around 3 p.m., but your nephew is still hungry. Part of the reason he says he is starving is because he is going through a growth spurt. Nevertheless, the other reason is that the teen thinks your organic food is “gross.” If you have a constantly eating, yet fussy, teenager in your home, Carl’s Jr. at 1 Hallidie Plaza has you covered all day long. This particular store lives up to their 24 hour promise — even on Christmas. To ensure your local Bay Area Carl’s Jr. is open, use their store finder and give them a call.
5. Meeting friends for Christmas at IHOP is a go
You spent all day with your family and now its time to touch-base with old friends. They are only in the Bay Area once a year and you want to reminisce in a laid-back environment, but they do not have a lot of money. Thankfully, the IHOP at 2299 Lombard St. says they are open on Christmas and New Years. IHOP encourages you to check with each store in the Bay Area before visiting to verify they are open December 25.
6. Will Denny’s have a Christmas special this year?
Around the country, there are Denny’s that have a special Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner that is not normally on the menu. Will the same be true this year in San Francisco? Perhaps as a way to prevent people from waiting in line outside of the restaurant, the Denny’s at 816 Mission St. said they were open 24 hours on Christmas Day – but would not comment about the Christmas dinner special. For verifying that your local Denny’s is open, their website lists each restaurant’s telephone number.
7. Most but not all, McDonald’s restaurants are closed Christmas Day
Some McDonald’s restaurants got slack from the public with a petition on Change.org that stated that employees should not work on Christmas Day. Interestingly, many of the locations in Downtown San Francisco said they were closed on December 25. Online, there are claims that some McDonald’s will open after 12 p.m. Obviously, it is up to the individual restaurants to make their own hours. For this reason, if you are having a Big Mac Attack, consult the McDonald’s website ZIP Code store finder for the choices closest to you.
8. There is always the Safeway Buffet for the Holidays
The Foster City Patch posted that their local Safeway would be closed during a portion of Christmas Day. Is the same true for San Francisco? The Safeway staff at 2300 16th St. said that they are still open 24 hours a day on December 25, 2012. They also clarified by explaining that their store has only one day where there are partial closings. On Thanksgiving Day, the doors at this Safeway close at 6 p.m. Of course, having a Safeway in San Francisco that is open all day is great news for an individual that needs to pinch every penny and still eat like a king. If you do not live next to the Safeway on 16th, look for signs posted in your store about special Christmas Day store hours. You can also use their store locator to call and double check with the staff.
9. When you need to bring a food allergy dish to a restaurant
Your friends are gathering for Christmas Dinner at a restaurant this year. Everything goes according to plan until one of your guests informs you (two hours before your reservations) that his girlfriend is chemical sensitive and glucose intolerant. In order to save Christmas, she asks you to rush to an organic grocery to buy her something glucose-free because the restaurant’s menu does not include any choices for her. On Yelp, there are 10 organic local grocery stores listed. Interestingly, of the eight stores that answered their phone, only one of them said they will be open on Christmas. Although the staff explained that the exact Christmas hours have not been posted, the Haight Street Market at 1530 Haight St. will be open for several hours on December 25.
10. Holiday dining at the airport
You want to eat a hamburger on Christmas Day but your friends cannot make up their minds. In these cases, there is one solution for a multitude of choices. Verified by the SFO Airport Duty Manager, Lily Wang, there are always restaurants open in the airport on Christmas Day. This includes the pre and post-security areas. However, Wang stated that they do not receive information from concessions, restaurants, and retailers that they will be closed or shortening their hours until a few days before December 25. At that time, the hours will be posted. Despite this, Wang re-stated that there is always food available inside the security zone and outside the security zone 365 days a year at SFO. For locals, this is a good way to go to one location and find something different for everyone to eat. For more information about dining options at SFO on, consult the retail section of their website.
Maryam Louise is a former English instructor and materials developer for the Department of Defense Refugee Resettlement and Education Program in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 1997, she has contributed to academic works on the topic of gender. She has been living in the Bay Area and Louisville, KY since 2009, continuing her 17-year career in media.