Many of us would no more dream of eating Christmas dinner in a restaurant than we would forgo the roast beast, egg nog, yule log and a pile of cookies to chase it all down.
My family is one of these, rallied by my mom who staunchly refuses to patronize businesses that are open on Christmas. Blame a lifetime spent working in restaurants. Because she’s only guaranteed two days off every year — Thanksgiving and Christmas — she advocates the same for service workers everywhere.
But this year, as we looked over the remains of Thanksgiving dinner, the Christmas meal seemed an exhausting proposal. “I know,” Mom said. “Let’s eat out.” When the restaurant happens to be my favorite between the Rogue Valley and Eugene, how can I protest?
It helps, of course, that we’re rushing the season, celebrating almost a full week early in deference to my husband’s Christmas shift at a local fire station. There are a handful of local restaurants, though, who keep the kitchen fires burning on the actual holiday, most turning out a set menu for a reasonable price.
If I had plans to eat out on Christmas, my first choice would be Lark’s Home Kitchen Cuisine in the Ashland Springs Hotel. In fact, I had planned to write a dining column for the newspaper’s Tempo section about the restaurant’s elaborate menu only to find out they were booked solid for the holiday. I guess there’s always next year.
If you’re up for a bit of a drive and a gorgeous mountain setting for your reward, consider Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge. Callahan’s restaurant serves Christmas dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Prices are $26 per person, $13 for children 12 and younger.
The menu features turkey, ham, apple-cranberry stuffing, maple-glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, Caesar or garden salads, minestrone soup or fruit salad. Callahan’s is located south of Ashland just off Interstate 5 at 7100 Old Highway 99 South. Call 541-482-1299 for reservations.
Elmer’s plans a similar menu, priced at $13.99 for adults, $10.99 for seniors and $7.99 for kids. Dinner service starts at noon. The Medford restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the holiday.
If you don’t mind a truck-stop atmosphere, the area’s largest won’t leave you hungry. Witham Truck Stop Restaurant in Medford serves a “holiday plate” including ham, turkey and all the trimmings from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cost is $8.95.
In Phoenix, Iron Skillet will prepare two Christmas buffets. A breakfast spread runs from 6 to 11 a.m. for $7.99. Their holiday buffet follows for $11.99. Guests also can select from the regular menu.
Bring the Christmas spirit along if you plan to dine out for the holiday. Staff will appreciate your gift of patience, kindness and generosity.