Local restaurant stays open for Christmas - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Local restaurant stays open for Christmas

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LOVES PARK (WREX) -

Every family has their own Christmas traditions, and for dozens in the area, that means going out to breakfast at Sunrise Diner. 

Sunrise Cafe in Loves Park is open on Christmas Day every year.

"I thoroughly enjoy working here, we have a great staff, we work for a great boss and there's a lot of people here that we have served for years, so it's like family." said Margaret Hassell, a waitress who has worked at Sunrise for 6 years.

Despite the holiday, staff there don't hesitate to get on the schedule. 

"We have a lot people who are so regular that they wouldn't know where to go, or what to do on a holiday if they didn't come to Sunrise. And we wouldn't know what to do without them either." said Hassell.

Because regulars like Phyllis Wilson, make working on a holiday worth it.

"How many years have you been coming here? Um probably at least 3."

Wilson and her friends call themselves orphans, those who have no one else, so they come together each year to celebrate. 

"We just ask friends who don't have anyone else on Christmas to come and join us." 

And while exchanging their gifts at the breakfast table, they take the celebration one step further, for a stranger. 

"As we're here enjoying our celebration, we kinda just look around and see who is here by themselves, and we secretly pay their tab for them."

Wilson says it's their way of giving back. 

"Just shares the joy and the hope, bringing in the new year. "

And for the staff, working at Sunrise is theirs. 

"I get to come here and take care of people that don't have any place to go, or anything else to do." said Hassell.

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