Market Basket: Last-minute dining ideas
Most notably, it is the first year she and her adult children will be celebrating Christmas without their dad and her husband of 47 years.
He died earlier this year.
"Since my granddaughter is singing at the early Christmas Eve service at our church, I thought dinner would be a nice new 'tradition' to establish," says Stewart, of Granger.
Realizing that many restaurants will close their doors early Monday and remain closed through Christmas, Stewart also knows some are open for families like theirs.
And she's right. Some locally owned and chain restaurants open for limited hours with special buffets.
"Last year we had about 300 reservations and another 350 walk-in customers on Christmas," says Emily Nickerson, manager of the Day Road Honker's restaurant. "I think a lot of people who don't have family close don't want to cook for two or three people. By the time you make the fixings, your day is over."
This list is by no means meant to be comprehensive or all-inclusive, but it offers some ideas for area consumers like the Stewarts who want to dine out on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Aladdin's Eatery, 317 W. University Drive, Mishawaka, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
American Pancake House, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., 508 Dixie Way, South Bend, 5758 Grape Road and 1008 W. McKinley Ave., Mishawaka.
Between the Buns, all area locations, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Blue Lantern, 928 E. McKinley Ave., Mishawaka, 2:30 to 8 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Bob Evans, 204 S. Dixie Way, Roseland, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 5823 Grape Road, Mishawaka, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Buffalo Wild Wings, 4343 Grape Road, Mishawaka, 326 W. Ireland, South Bend, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
China House, 2222 Mishawaka Ave., South Bend, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Das Dutchman Essenhouse, 240 U.S. 20, Middlebury, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. restaurant; 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. bakery; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. gift shops.
Doc Pierce's, 120 N. Main St., Mishawaka, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations recommended.