Finding food you can pick up or restaurants to dine in at on Christmas Day can be difficult. But whether you're looking for some classic Chinese food or just want some coffee, some Austin places are keeping their doors open.
Here are restaurants in Austin, both local and chains, that will be open on Christmas Day.
Bennu Coffee, multiple locations
In the mood for coffee but not sure where to go? Bennu Coffee has got you covered this holiday season! It will be open at all three locations during the holidays. The Highland location will continue to serve 24/7, and the MLK and Congress locations will be open all week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Swing by to grab a cup of joe or maybe even a last-minute stocking stuffer gift card.
Old Thousand, multiple locations
This Christmas, the neighborhood Chinese restaurant on 11th Street will be open for dine-in for anyone with cravings for hotpot or any other Chinese dish. You can make reservations by phone at 737-222-6637. Their Burnet location will also be open on Christmas Day for Ho-Ho Hotpot takeout, which includes Mala Beef Tallow Broth or Smoke Veggie Umami Broth, a variety of meats, veggies, noodles, sides and dessert. This meal costs $110 with the option to purchase an additional hotpot kit for $40. You can preorder by the same phone number and pick up on Christmas Day 4-8 p.m.
24 Diner, 600 North Lamar Blvd.
This classic American diner, which was modeled after diners of the 50s, will be open for limited hours on Christmas Day—from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Customers can get their fill of classic diner food in a swanky environment.
Simi Estiatorio, 601 Congress Ave.
This Greek restaurant, which offers fine dining in the middle of downtown, will be open both on Christmas and New Years Day with its regular hours and menu. On Christmas, the restaurant will be open from 5-11 p.m. and will offer seafood, hearty steaks and tasty Mediterranean dishes.
Wu Chow, 500 West 5th St.
Celebrate this holiday season with Wu Chow! This farm-to-fresh Chinese restaurant will be open for dine-in from 5-11 p.m. on Christmas Day. If you’d like to order to-go, they are available only by walk-in on Christmas Day. Wu Chow offers modern Chinese dishes, which represent all eight styles of Chinese cuisine.
- Applebee’s: Limited hours
- Denny’s: 24/7
- Starbucks: Different hours at various locations
- IHOP: 24/7
- Waffle House: Different hours at various locations
- McDonald's: Normal hours
- Sonic: Normal hours
Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”
We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.
This restaurant claims to have the most authentic South Indian food, and from what I've heard, the claims might be true! Their menu features the traditional South Indian dishes of Idlis, Vadas, a variety of Dosas, and more.
If you're looking for an Indian and Tex-Mex fusion cozy restaurant, then look no further! Nasha on East 7th Street prides itself on its specialty margaritas, Tikka con Queso, Biryani, and more creative dishes!