Posted: Wednesday, December 25th 2013 at 10:25am
Eating-out on Christmas becoming popular
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – When a long night of hard work and countless miles finally comes to an end, a fellow likes to grab something good to eat before heading home for a nap: but where?
This morning the streets are deserted, eerily quiet. That’s because folks are at home enjoying the overnight efforts of that hard-working man, today wearing a red suit, sporting a white beard and feeling a touch of emptiness in "his little round belly".
Not long ago Santa’s culinary options would have been limited to the half-dozen Waffle Houses scattered, covered and smothered, in the Gainesville area. Today that number has grown.
Eric Myers manages the McDonalds in Flowery Branch, but today he is at the Gainesville McDonalds on Browns Bridge Road, open for the first time on a Christmas morning.
"The hospital is open, the fire department, the police department, everybody’s open; we just want to give them a place to come and sit down and eat and enjoy it," Myers said, adding that of ten McDonald franchises he is a part of in the area the Browns Bridge store was the only one to open on Christmas morning.
International House of Pancakes, across from Poultry Park, had the largest crowd as the sun broke the horizon. Waitress Brittany Bunch of Gainesville knew today would be busy. "I’m kind of dreading it because I know it’s going to be crazy; lines out the door."
But Bunch knew that volume of activity combined with the holiday spirit of giving could add up to a great day tip-wise. “They’ve been generous all week,” she said, but confided that finding a $20 bill left on the table is a common occurrence on Christmas.
Having finished his breakfast, IHOP customer Ronnie Whited of Gainesville paused in the half-full parking lot to explain that he would gather with his family and open gifts later in the day, but wanted to do something unique on Christmas morning.
Gesturing towards his wife, Whited said, "We had seen…that they were going to be open so we decided to come out for breakfast and give the kitchen a break." Mrs. Whited smiled her agreement.
Denny’s restaurants are historically open on Christmas Day. The franchise recently returned to the Gainesville area, opening a location on Browns Bridge Road last month.
Waitress/ Hostess April Reeves said, "This is my first year working on Christmas, usually I spend it with family, but this is great."
Reeves said that later in the day two family groups had made reservations, each wanting Christmas dinner for thirty people. Reeves expected the day to be very busy.
Waffle House waitress Christina Munoz said that families planning a meal away from home on Christmas Day is a growing trend. Having worked for Waffle House for thirteen years Munoz knew what to expect as the day progressed. "They’ll be lined up outside, waiting on tables."
Munoz’s restaurant is on Shallowford Road, ground-zero for nearly two days of last-minute Christmas shopping that saw patience-trying traffic jams around the clock. Sandwiched between Lakeshore Mall, Walmart, Best Buy and a myriad of other shopping destinations, Munoz appreciated the easy commute to work this morning. "It’s definitely a different day."
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