With the holiday season in full swing, some local Carroll restaurants are offering an option that could lighten the load for already busy and potentially stressed customers — Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals.
For some eateries, a holiday meal has been a tradition for years.
Johanssons Dining House has been open on Christmas Eve for more than two decades, and this year is no exception. The downtown Westminster restaurant will hold a brunch and dinner on Sunday. They will have a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the last seating at 12:30 p.m., and a dinner with a limited menu starting at 4 p.m., with the last seating at 8:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
For a lot of people, going out on Christmas Eve is a nice chance to celebrate with family in a low-stress way, Johanssons manager Sarah Redding said via email.
“Christmas Eve is typically a time for family. Some folks are blessed with a large family but cannot accommodate everyone in one home. … Restaurants can be especially helpful with a bit of preplanning by all. We help people do this every day of the year. Christmas is just a bit more special because our customers entrust us with their most prized possession, their families,” Redding wrote.
Johanssons has been operating on Christmas Eve since the restaurant opened its doors in 1995, she said, and times have changed in those years, with families more scattered.
“We will keep doing what we do because one special day you will need us and we want to be there for our customer/friends,” she wrote.
Baldwin’s Station, 7618 Main St., Sykesville, will also be open for Christmas Eve, a tradition they’ve been doing for many years, owner Stewart Dearie said.
They do a menu designed with entrees from the restaurant’s winter menu, as well as specials that the chef has done throughout the year, he said.
“We get a lot of people,” he said. “It’s a big night for us.”
On Sunday, they’ll have both a lunch, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a dinner from 4 to 8 p.m., and reservations are recommended. Usually, Dearie said, Baldwin’s gets a lot of people coming in before and after church.
Those who come in each year know a lot of the staff and servers, he added.
“My chefs are fabulous and we bring great service. It’s definitely a family-type atmosphere,” Dearie said.
For the first year, Antrim 1844 will not only be open for Christmas Eve but will also be open for a Christmas Day meal, said Amanda Stein, marketing manager. Each day will have two seatings, with a six-course prix fixe menu, she said.
Christmas Eve will have seatings at 6 and 6:30 p.m., and Christmas Day will have 2 and 2:30 p.m. seatings available. The menu options for each day are inspired by the holiday season, Stein said.
Their events are great for couples or families who may not be looking to cook a full meal, she said. It offers something, but you don’t have to do the preparations or clean up. And, she said, the Antrim is decorated for the season, so those dining are surrounded by Christmas.
Jim Shideler, director of sales and marketing, said they always have a good turnout for Christmas Eve, adding that it’s important to know all are welcome and the meals are for the public, not just hotel guests.
The Antrim is a “hidden jewel in community,” he added.
The County Cork Wine Pub, 1716 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, will also have a Christmas Eve brunch and dinner, something the restaurant started doing a few years ago, owner Arlene Stecher said. Brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., she said, and dinner runs from 4:30 to about 9 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
The dinner is family-style, she said, with options like prime rib, roasted turkey and fried chicken. People can order off the prix fixe menu or off the regular menu, and there are also some drink specials, she added.
“It’s been a hit” since they started doing the Christmas Eve meal, she said, and so they keep the tradition going each year.
“I think it’s a nice family-style type of menu,” she added.