Holidays can be a difficult time for restaurants. Not the time leading up to the holidays where everyone is making merry, but the holidays themselves. Do we stay open on the holidays? Do I spend time with my family on the holidays? Catering out performs in-house dining, do we just open for catering? Do customers want a large-scale New Year’s Eve? Do my employees need time off during the holidays?
And from the customer perspective, do they want to stay home and celebrate with family? Perhaps they have separate holiday celebrations. Maybe it’s just breakfast the morning after!
Here’s a look at some options for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
The Hilton at Oak Brook Hills Resort is pulling out all the stops for the holidays. Jetting in from Las Vegas for the debut of the Hilton’s Timeless New Year’s Eve Gala is The Rat Pack is Back. Featuring songs from the archives of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. with a 12-piece orchestra, this gala will transform New Year’s Eve celebrations in the suburbs and raise the bar to its highest level.
The newly remodeled Grand Ballroom will host this event and be completely decked out for the occasion.
"We're bringing timeless traditions and elegance back to Chicago this New Year's Eve," Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort general manager Steven Ellingsen said. "Just close your eyes, and you'll be transported back to the historic Sands Hotel when Frank and the boys dazzled."
Several options are available. The couples package includes dinner, four hours of premium open bar, hats and horns, a champagne toast, the entire show, and dancing, plus overnight accommodations. Wake up the next morning to the Hilton’s famous Hangover brunch. Couples packages are priced at $495. Add $100 for the VIP package, and you get a few additional perks.
There also is individual pricing, as well as the newly announced City Satellite Package, which allows you to stay overnight at the Kinzie Hotel in downtown Chicago with the event broadcast live. For the high rollers, there’s even a $10,000 package that includes two nights in Presidential Suites (downtown and Oak Brook Hills), helicopter, limos, spa treatments, wardrobe makeover, photographer, very special meal service including dinner at RPM Italian and a lot more. Check the website for all the details on each package.
The main dining room will be open throughout the holidays with the highlight being the New Year’s Day Hangover brunch. Rumor has it ABC Channel 7 will be in the ballroom and originate one of their three live broadcasts here on New Year’s Eve!
Vincitori Italian Restaurant will be closed on both Christmas and New Year’s Day but open for catering pickup on Christmas Eve. But it’s New Year’s Eve that is special!
Executive Chef Bob Airdo brings back the Dueling Pianos for New Year’s Eve. With most of the menu available plus some great specials, cover charge is a modest $10 per person. Twin pianos play your favorite songs in a contrasting, accompanying and dueling environment with audience participation!
Spontaneous singing and dancing is a must! As the night wears on and midnight closes in, the music gets louder and the singing by everyone in the restaurant more emboldened. Having previously attended this event before, I can guarantee a great evening. This one always sells out, so reservations are a must!
DJ’s Sports Bar and Grill will be open all four of the holidays. Stop by for a cocktail after your shopping is finished, Cousin Eddie shows up…or you just need a change of pace. Either the grill will be open or pizza will be available, so you’re covered either way.
And on New Year’s Eve, join DJ’s owner Tracey Valerio for her annual New Year’s Eve celebration. No cover, complimentary hats and horns, and a champagne toast at midnight. Round up your friends or just show up to make new ones. The next day, DJ’s will have all of your games on TV along with a fine Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar, as well as 50 percent of their legendary burgers during the Bear’s game.
Want to relax a bit more during the holidays or entertain a large group? Uncle Bub’s, J Fleming’s Absolutely Delicious, Vincitori Italian Restaurant and the Standard Market will all be doing a brisk catering business and open for pickup on Christmas Eve. Order ahead and leave the worries to them.
For Christmas Eve, Bakersfield, Amber Cafe and Grill 89 will feature their regular menus, and Saffron Indian Restaurant and Cucinova Pizza will provide slightly more non-traditional options. Saffron also will be open on Christmas Day, featuring its daily lunch buffet (a great deal and introduction to Indian cuisine) and the full menu later in the day.
If you are not planning on attending one of the New Year’s Eve parties listed earlier, there are plenty of dining options to enjoy a nice quiet meal. The Cube at the Standard Market will have meat and cheese boards, fondue and a nice selection of wines by the glass and craft beers if you would like an early start beginning at 5 p.m. There’s even a complimentary champagne toast.
Several local restaurants will have New Year’s Eve specials. Amber Café has crafted a special menu that includes a four-course dinner with house favorites and new options. Begin with its delicious steak tartare with crème fraiche, lobster bisque, veal tenderloin with melted leeks and parsnip puree, and finish with carrot cake drizzled in bourbon caramel. And that’s just one option!
J Fleming's Absolutely Delicious also will feature a special New Year's Eve menu with beef wellington as one of Chef John’s options. Tender filet mignon is wrapped in pastry and stuffed with mushroom duxelle, pate and plated with a red wine reduction. Rack of lamb also will be featured along with everyone’s favorite end-of-the-year dish, surf and turf. This one includes lobster, crab-stuffed shrimp and a petite filet mignon.
Bakersfield also will have a special menu for New Year’s Eve, and reservations are available for early and late seatings. Grill 89 will be open for brunch and serve a full New Year’s Eve dinner with a champagne toast at midnight. The full menu will be available, and once again, Cucinova and Saffron provide outside-the-box options.
New Year’s Day provides plenty of contrast. For those who behaved the previous night, Citrus Diner will be open by 8 a.m. and feature their full breakfast and lunch menu. The Hangover Brunch at the Hilton starts a bit later as does Grill 89’s brunch. DJ’s Sports Bar and Grill, Saffron and Cucinova round out a few more choices.
While there are probably a few I missed, it is still a great collection of options. Whereever you choose to celebrate your holidays, have a great time and enjoy all that Westmont has to offer!
The Hilton at Oak Brook Hills
Vincitori Italian Restaurant
DJ’s Sport Bar and Grill
J Fleming's Absolutely Delicious