Tuesday, July 29, 2014

’Tis the season to eat: Some Ottawa restaurants stay open for holidays

By CHRIS DUDERSTADT, Herald Staff Writer | 12/28/2012

While many businesses in Ottawa closed their doors on Christmas Day, a few restaurants stayed open for the holidays.

Whether it was people who were not able to be with their relatives or families that did not prepare a Christmas dinner, Brett Tucker, general manager of the Burger King at 205 East 23rd St., Ottawa, said a number of customers came in to his restaurant Tuesday for a holiday meal.

While many businesses in Ottawa closed their doors on Christmas Day, a few restaurants stayed open for the holidays.

Whether it was people who were not able to be with their relatives or families that did not prepare a Christmas dinner, Brett Tucker, general manager of the Burger King at 205 East 23rd St., Ottawa, said a number of customers came in to his restaurant Tuesday for a holiday meal.

“Our (national) owner decided to have about 90 percent of our Burger Kings open because [Christmas] is a big holiday and people are traveling, and we’re just off the highway,” Tucker said. “Of course it is about money, but it is more about people having a place to stop. We’ve been a place to stop now for six years. We’ve been open every Christmas.”

Another option for people traveling was Hardee’s at Loves Travel Stop, 203 E. 27th Ave., Ottawa. Hardee’s was open 24 hours for both Christmas Eve and Day and will be for New Year’s Eve and Day as well.

Restaurants such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Sirloin Stockade all were open during the day on Christmas Eve, but closed for Christmas. All five dining options will be in operation for New Year’s Eve and Day.

For those who wanted to eat at a non-chain restaurant, Old 56 Family Restaurant, 2227 S. Princeton St., Ottawa, and South Beach Cove Paradise Beach Bar & Grill, 1608 S. Main St., Ottawa, were open to customers on Christmas Eve and Day as well.

“A lot of people don’t have family, and we have a lot of older customers, too,” Casie Williams, Old 56 Family Restaurant general manager, said. “There are people on the highway and all that, so basically it is somewhere to stay open for people who don’t get a Christmas dinner, so they can get a Christmas dinner.”

Although it was convenient for customers to come in and get a meal instead of cooking a Christmas dinner, employees had to sacrifice part of their holiday to work, but Williams said she made sure to act responsibly on behalf of her workers.

“They were all fine with (working) because the ones who worked Christmas, we gave them Christmas Eve off. And the ones that had Christmas Eve off worked on Christmas,” Williams said. “The way I made it was that the (employees) that didn’t have family, children and things like that, they worked, and the ones that did have family had Christmas Day off.”

At South Beach Cove Paradise Bar & Grill, owner Dana Coopey said his employees asked him to work on Christmas Eve or Day.

Coopey said those diners who spent part of their holidays at the restaurant were very appreciative and noted it was a good opportunity for him and his employees, “to give back to the community.”

“We are here for them,” Coopey said. “That’s why we have the place we have is for the people. So it gives them the opportunity to come out when they get done with their family events and things, and we are able to provide for them.”

Coopey has made a tradition out of South Beach Cove Paradise Bar & Grill, previously known as the Sandbar, being open on Christmas and said he plans to continue it.

“It is eight years running of doing it, and we’ll do it again next year for the ninth annual,” Coopey said.

South Beach Cove Paradise Bar & Grill will be open on New Year’s Eve, but Coopey said late this week he had not yet decided whether it also would be open the first day of 2013.

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