Christmas is over, but there’s still New Year’s Eve, the last big holiday before the restaurant business slows and operators turn their attention to restaurant weeks and other events to fill tables until business perks up again.

While much was made in the media about a McDonald’s memo encouraging franchisees to boost sales by opening on Christmas, other chains starting with Denny’s make it a tradition to always be open, even on the holiday, as the Los Angeles Times reported. Others planning to open at least some locations for at least part of the day included IHOP, Starbucks and Del Taco.

Meanwhile, market-by-market, independent eateries made their own decisions about whether to open on Christmas and New Year’s, including:

  • Newton, Mass., where chef Michael Leviton harked back to teenage Christmas Eves of years ago when Jewish friends introduced him to the custom of Chinese food and movies. Now the owner of Lumiere created a special holiday menu that was heavily influenced by Asian cuisines, as the Boston Globe reported.
  • Portland, Ore., where Firehouse Restaurant toasted the holidays early and often, with plenty of craft beer and hard cider, before closing shop on Dec. 23 with plans to open back up on Jan. 4.
  • Raleigh-Durham, N.C., where WRAL’s Go Ask Mom editor reveals her top five family-friendly eateries for the holidays.
  • Minneapolis, where critic Rick Nelson talked to Minnesota Public Radio about his favorite holiday hot spots in the city.

Looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, restaurants are offering something for almost everyone who wants to venture out on the traditional party night, from low-key early dinners to all-night bashes.

In L.A., revelers who have $30 to $260 per person to spend can reserve a table at a range of restaurants, from a six-course menu starting with oysters and ending with dark chocolate mousse at Artisan House to black-eyed peas and shrimp and grits at Louisiana-influenced Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Daily Meal offers similar lists for more cities, including Chicago, Boston and New York in “The Last-Minute Christmas and New Year’s Eve Dining Guide.”

Is your restaurant booking up for New Year’s Eve? How will you celebrate? Tell us about it in the comments.

Happy New Year!

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