12 South Jersey restaurants open on Christmas Day

12 South Jersey restaurants open on Christmas Day

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Chef Cai Wu prepares a spicy miso ramen

Joe Lamberti, Cherry Hill Courier-Post

Decisions, decisions.

Do you want to cook on Christmas Day and have family and friends over or do you want to go out and leave the cooking to someone else?

Takeout is also an option.

There aren’t many places open on Christmas in South Jersey, but there are a handful of places to choose from.

And there’s a variety, from Japanese or Chinese food, to Italian to diner fare. Some places will have turkey, dressing and sides available and others will have their regular menus.

If you’re willing to take a drive down the Atlantic City Expressway or Route 30, Atlantic City could be a great holiday destination as there are a nice mix of places open there.

Whatever you choose to do, please be safe and enjoy yourself.

Reminder, just because a place is open, don’t assume they have availability. A reservation is always recommended. If a restaurant does not take reservations, confirm  hours ahead of time as staffing or supply chain issues could always mean last-minute changes.

Now, here are 12 restaurants open on Christmas Day:

Benihana, Pennsauken

If you’ve never been to Benihana, here’s your chance.

Some people desire something different for Christmas dinner and hibachi could be just that.

Who isn’t fascinated when the tableside chefs create all the theatrics with fire as they cook the food in front of you? That’s the fun part.

Benihana will serve its regular menu on Christmas Day, which includes the Hibachi chicken rice where steak or shrimp can be added for an additional price; spicy chicken rice; Benihana salad, which comes with crisp greens, red cabbage, carrots and grape tomatoes in a homemade tangy ginger dressing; seaweed salad; miso soup; Benihana onion soup; sushi rolls; noodles; steak and chicken; lobster tails,; colossal shrimp, and more.

Go: 5255 Marlton Pike West, 856-665-6320; benihana.com

Boston Market, Moorestown, Blackwood

Only certain Boston Market locations are open on Christmas Day.

Hours are approximately 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the holiday.

Individual meals are available, as well as Holiday Buffet meals to feed multiple people.

Holiday Buffet meals offer three possible entrée selections — boneless roasted turkey, honey-glazed ham and rotisserie chicken. An example of what a Holiday Buffet meal costs: boneless roasted turkey for 10, which includes two sides (such as mashed potatoes with gravy and vegetable stuffing) with dinner rolls and apple and pumpkin pie for dessert comes to $139.90. Entrée selections alone for 10 people are $13.99 a piece. You can add more desserts, entrée or sides to your orders.

Boston Market also will individually plate your meals for up to 250 people and deliver it. That option offers more choices such as meatloaf, baby back ribs and more.

Go: 1201 Nixon Dr., Moorestown, 856-802-0044; 5716 E Black Horse Pike, Blackwood, 856-227-6700; bostonmarket.com

Carmine’s, Atlantic City

Carmine's is not only open on Christmas Day but also on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and New Years Day — and that includes all of their locations.  

For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, additional specials available for dine-in, take-out, or delivery include roasted beef tenderloin with grilled asparagus; Contadina potatoes; roasted mushrooms, oreganata stuffed tomatoes, and roasted Cipollini onion in a red wine sauce; pan-seared Chilean seabass cioppino with clams, mussels, scallops, pomodoro tomatoes and fennel in a light saffron sauce; and penne Boscaiola with sweet Italian sausage, spicy soppressata and mushrooms in a tomato-cream sauce. Their full menu of classic Italian dishes also will be available.

Carmine’s Atlantic City is located inside The Quarter at Tropicana Hotel & Casino. 

Diners are encouraged to make reservations.

Go: 2801 Pacific Ave., 609-572-9300; carminesnyc.com

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Denny’s: Bordentown, Millville

OK, there’s good news for those who want a more traditional Christmas Day meal: there’s turkey and dressing on the menu in the Classic Dinner section.

That comes with tender carved turkey breast, stuffing, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce and is served with two sides and dinner bread. All for $10.99.

There is also T-bone steak, sirloin steak, fried fish platter, Brooklyn spaghetti and meat balls, country-fried steak dinner, among other items, available under Classic Dinners.

Then, of course, there are burgers, salads, omelets and other breakfast foods.

And dessert choices include pumpkin pie, pecan pie, caramel apple pie crisp, New York-style cheesecake and a signature Panookie, a warm chocolate chip cookie filled with molten chocolate and topped with premium vanilla ice cream and salted caramel.

There’s also a 55-plus menu, as well with special discounts.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Go: 221 U.S. Highway 130 North, 609-298-4711; 2297 N. 2nd Street, Millville, 856-825-8030; dennys.com/

The Ebbitt Room at Congress Hall, Cape May

This Shore favorite destination will be open on Christmas from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

It is highly recommended that you make reservations for this dinner, which is normally three courses, including dessert.

While the menu had not yet been posted on The Ebbitt Room website prior to deadline, with executive chef Jason Hanin at the helm, it promises to be another treat. Hanin, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in New York, rejoined Cape Resorts in 2017. His previous stint began in 2011 when he was executive chef at Chelsea Prime at The Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City, the website says.

Last year’s Christmas Day feast included prime rib, spiced nuts, maple ham, venison, wine-poached pears, pancetta Dashi broth, and Kabocha squash soup with lobster ricotta dumpling.

Beverages were not included with last year's meal, which was $75 per person.

Go: 27 Jackson St., Cape May, 609-884-5700; caperesorts.com/virginia-hotel/ebbittroom

Empire Diner, Brooklawn

Regular hours are expected in the morning, meaning the diner opens at 6 a.m.

Closing may be between 6 and 7 p.m.

Turkey, ham and some steaks should be available on the menu, a restaurant manager said.

The regular menu includes a plethora of diner offerings such as quesadillas, salads, breakfast foods, sandwiches and hoagies. Have you ever had a crabmeat melt? There are also panini, wraps, seafood and more. The diner also offers steak, pork chops, meat loaf, broiled flounder, pasta, multiple chicken dishes and other seafood.

Go: 297 Crescent Blvd., 856-432-6630.

Girasole, Atlantic City

The four-course prix fixe Christmas Day menu begins with minestra maritata, an escarole soup with celery and baby meatballs; the second course will be melanzane e zucchine, a baked eggplant and zucchini Parmigiano; followed by the third course of paccheri con ragu Napoletano, large rigatoni with slow-cooked ragu of Italian sausage, beef braciole, veal ossobuco, homemade tomato sauce. The meal will conclude with a sweet assortment of homemade desserts. The dinner is available for $65 per person.

Reservations are recommended for the holiday meal. 

Go: 3108 Pacific Ave., 609-345-5554; mygirasole.com/

Hard Rock Café, Atlantic City

If you don’t mind the ride, you can spend the day in Atlantic City and spend time at the Hard Rock Café.

So the choices may not be turkey, green beans or ham, but you can get either a two-course meal for $42 or three courses for $48.

You'll get a choice of Caesar salad bruschetta or blue cheese chopped salad for your appetizer. Entrée choices include full rack of baby back ribs, barbecued grilled chicken, grilled salmon, filet mignon with marinated mushrooms, surf and turf burger, mushroom and swiss burger, original legendary burger or the Impossible burger.

Dessert choice of holiday brownie or espresso martini.

Go: 1000 Boardwalk, 609-441-0007; hardrockcafe.com/location/atlantic-city

IHOP: Berlin Township, Burlington Township, Cherry Hill

Of course, there are pancakes and plenty of them. Waffles, omelets, too.

But did you know IHOP also offers sirloin steak tips, buttermilk crispy chicken, grilled tilapia, and all-natural roasted turkey? That’s in addition to their chicken sandwiches, burgers, salads, burritos and more.

Sides include red-skinned mashed potatoes, rice medley, buttered corn, sharp cheddar mac and cheese and steamed fresh broccoli.

The Cherry Hill location is open until 1 p.m. on Christmas Day, while the Burlington Township and Berlin Township locations will close at 2 or 3.

Go: 285 Route 73, Berlin Township, 856-753-8404; 2703 Mount Holly Road, Burlington Twp., 609-386-1880; 1602 Church Road, Cherry Hill, 856-667-3454; www.ihop.com

Rainforest Café, Atlantic City

You ready for a walk on the wild side on Christmas Day?

The café states that visitors “don’t have to travel far to dine in a tropical rainforest, it’s safari for the senses” and that its menu contains an “array of delicious items and tropical treats."

The menu offers Mojo Bones: half a rack of ribs; a Blue Mountain chicken sandwich; chicken quesadillas; beef lava nachos; shrimp scampi flatbreads; tacos; multiple salads; burgers; turkey clubs; seafood; chicken fried chicken; fajitas; ribs; steak and shrimp combos; and sides such as Caribbean rice. seasonal vegetables, red-skinned mashed potatoes, coleslaw and more. Cheesecake and Key lime pie are among the dessert offerings.

There are kid’s meals available such as mini-burgers, nuggets, grilled cheese, grilled chicken breast and popcorn shrimp.

The hours are noon until 8 p.m. on Christmas.

Go: 2201 Boardwalk Ave., Atlantic City, 609-345-5757; rainforestcafe.com

Route 130 Diner, Delran

The cozy little diner on the corner of Route 130 South and Chester Avenue is not only a convenient location, but they will be ready to host you and your family on Christmas Day.

So, if you are not up to cooking this year, Route 130 Diner might be an option, particularly for Burlington County residents.

Some of the popular items on the menu include omelets, hoagies, hot sandwiches, steak sandwiches, panini, turkey burgers, burgers, pasta dishes, mozzarella sticks and more. There also are steaks, porkchops, turkey, baked meatloaf, ham, salads, seafood and an assortment of pies, pudding and cakes for dessert.

Go: 5001 Route 130, Delran, 856-764-6161;.facebook.com/130diner/

Seaview Hotel & Golf Club, Galloway

Oh, the choices you will have.

There will be a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day prix fixe menu.

The cost is $49 plus tax per person.

Starters include She Crab soup from the Outer Banks of the Carolinas and a winter harvest salad of mixed greens, roasted beets, goat cheese, sour apples, caramelized walnuts, and cranberry confit with a cold-pressed peanut oil/white balsamic vinaigrette.

Choice of entrées include: Tournedos Rossini — two filet mignon medallions placed on garlic croutons topped with fresh Hudson Valley foie gras, Duchess potatoes and jumbo asparagus with a truffle cognac demi-glace. Another option is half a roasted Bell & Evans chicken that is truffle-herb butter basted and served with mashed potatoes, jumbo asparagus with thyme shitake au jus.

There is an option for a chickpea penne with Gardein meatless meatballs (vegan, gluten free & vegetarian), including sautéed garlic, red onions, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms in a rich double fortified vegetable broth. It will be finished with sea salt, fresh basil and fresh-milled black pepper. Finally, there is a fresh Florida grouper piccata, egg battered and sautéed in white wine, lemon and butter, finished with capers, Heirloom tomatoes and basil, wild rice, jumbo asparagus with a Beurre blanc sauce.

For dessert, there’s hot chocolate flourless cake with caramel whipped cream and fresh winter raspberry coulis.

Go: 401 South New York Road, 609-652-1800; seaviewdolcehotel.com/

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