Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson restaurant news: Jewish Christmas and OM

Chinese Food
Image by thehoneybunny via Flickr

There is often a conundrum for people who don’t celebrate Christmas whether they be Jewish, non-Christian, or simply not interested or not connected in the activities of Christmas Day.

Granted, the movies are packed but unlike some major metropolitan cities, Tucson restaurants and stores are pretty much closed down so employees can have some time off with their families.

When I moved here in September 2000, some friends and I went to the movies and then tried to find someplace to eat afterward. From El Con, we drove east on Broadway Blvd and saw that TGI Friday’s was open but they had a two hour wait for a table. We drove further east and ended up at Seri of Melaka. The restaurant was empty but by the time we left, every table was  filled and a large party was waiting for ours.

Through the years, there’s been a smattering of more places that are open for business as usual; no pricey holiday dinners. You can find the holiday dinners in a previous post.

Here’s my list. If you know of more options, please add them to the comments.

Open Christmas Day – business as usual
Fortunately, a number of independent restaurants will be open serving their normal menus.

If Chinese food is your fancy, check out:
–Old Peking, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 2522 East Speedway Boulevard, 795-9811;
–China Phoenix has its regular hours from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 7090 N. Oracle Road, 531-0658, (ate here one Christmas-it was packed);
–Great Wall of China at 2445 S. Craycroft Road, 514-8888, will be open from 4 to 10 p.m.;
–Café Pacific, 3607 N. Campbell Ave at Prince Road, 326-5174, serves from 4 to 9:30 p.m. (ate here one Christmas-it was packed, reservations advised);
–Lee Lee Oriental SuperMart which opens December 23 will also be open on Christmas Day. When I called they didn’t know the exact hours yet at 1980 W. Orange Grove, 638-8328, has prepared food to go.

If cumin and curries stir your passions, consider:
–Indian cuisine at Sher-e Punjab, 853 E. Grant Road, 624-9393, open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m.;
–the sparkling pop-arty Saffron Indian Bistro at 7607 N Oracle Rd, open all day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 742-9100.

For more exotic tastes, think Malaysia, then make reservations at:
Seri of Melaka, 4 to 10 p.m., 6133 East Broadway Boulevard, 747-7811.

TGI Friday’s is open from 1 to 10 p.m. at 4901 East Broadway Boulevard; 745-3743. It will be rocking. (ate here one Christmas after volunteering at Primavera men’s shelter).

Coming soon: OM
While I was calling around for casual meals at Christmas, I found out that Neo of Melaka formerly located at 1765 East River Road is closed and will be replaced with a new name — OM — and new concept — Euro Asian — coming soon, hopefully, according to restaurant personnel by month end.

Closed: Bunbuku
Apparently, it closed two months ago. About six months ago it got a bad health report card.

Here’s my favorite holiday video – Chinese food on Christmas

Whatever you celebrate or choose not to — have a good one.

  1. Nothing new to report, just to put in my usual enthusiastic bid for Shere Punjab where I’ve spent several delicious Christmas eves. Plenty of people who share my views about the wonderfulness of their food — and the desire to eat rather than shop the night before Xmas — are always there (but it’s not overcrowded).

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