The type of food served at a Christmas dinner can vary, but for some locals, they’re dishing out in a non-traditional Christmas way.
Elizabeth, a Jacksonville resident, has been spending Christmas day at Mai Tai, a Chinese-American buffet, for several years.
“Everybody can get what they want and then we can relax,” she said.
She is one of many who spends December 25 eating out at one of the few restaurants open in town.
Mai Tai has been open on Christmas day for 35 years.
“Seems like the local people here don’t mind. They’ve been coming here for years,” said David Ng, the general manager.
David says since they’ve opened on Christmas day, the amount of people who walk in has increased.
They started out by serving 300-400 people a day and now they can serve up to 700-800 people.
“We’d love to have them spend Christmas with us,” said David.
But the reasons people choose to eat out on Christmas day can vary.
Customers at Mai Tai say they’re celebrating a 66th wedding anniversary, the food is good, or they would rather not deal with the stress that comes with preparing dinner.
“The hustle and bustle of the morning, opening presents and everything like that. Who really wants to cook?” asked Steven Reed, a customer.
He, like others who substituted turkey and rice for some calamari and bourbon chicken, can agree that whether you’re eating in or out, you’re sure to leave Mai Tai satisfied.
Below are a few restaurants open on Christmas Day in Jacksonville:
Mai Tai: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
109 Henderson Dr.
Waffle House: 24 hours
605 N Marine Blvd.
Denny’s: 24 Hours
2207 N Marine Blvd.