ABC Restaurant assistant manager said the owners, family and staff spent hours turning the restaurant into a winter wonderland. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)

Red Deer restaurant serves up big helping of Christmas cheer

Going big for Christmas an annual tradition at ABC Restaurant

Diners at ABC Restaurant in Red Deer are treated to a huge helping of festive cheer.

Every booth, shelf, nook and cranny in the family restaurant at 2085 50th Ave. has been decked out with Christmas trimmings.

Faux cotton snow has been piled around each booth and ersatz pine garlands wind throughout the dining area. Look around and visitors are treated to a buffet of Santas, elves, nutcrackers and festive stuffies.

The decorating has been a tradition for many years at the restaurant, which was previously owned by Charles and Nicole Leclair. When new owners Cassie and Travis White took over in September, they did not hesitate to keep the Christmas spirit alive.

“It was a tradition that Charles and Nicole started, but we were happy to carry on the best we could and we hope to keep improving on it every year,” said Travis. The couple also run Red Deer’s The Keg Steakhouse and Bar next to the Parkland Mall, Hash Breakfast Eatery and the adjacent Forno Italian restaurant at 6852 66th St.

“I think we’ve got a lot of really loyal, great guests who come to our building day in and day out and I didn’t want to mess with a good thing,” said Travis.

“We thought let’s keep the tradition alive, especially fun ones like decorating. It’s a lot of fun to do and brings a lot of Christmas spirit.”

Regulars expect to be dazzled every Christmas but first-timers are blown away, he said. “It’s been really good.”

Homme said she and the other staff were happy to see that the festive tradition was going to keep going.

“We were all pretty excited about it,” she said.

Decoration day took place on Nov. 12 and it was a big operation.

“It took us about five hours. There were 15 of us. We started about 3 p.m. and we went until about 8:30 p.m. It was a whole endeavour.

“It was really exciting. We were getting all amped up and we had a little pizza party in here. All the customers who were here were having a hilarious time.”

There was no shortage of volunteers to transform the restaurant into a winter wonderland.

“It was a collaboration of some of our staff and some of the family who own the restaurant. All the brothers and sisters of the owners were here helping us out.”

Even customers got into the spirit.

“Some of the decorations are actually from some of our regulars,” she said. “Decorations were brought in by people who knew the previous owners and since we just took over it was our first time.”

The reaction from customers has been warming. And word has spread that if you want to get a big helping of Christmas with your dinner stop at ABC.

“People love it. We have people coming in all the time saying ‘My friend told me about it. I had to come check it out.’”

A room at the side of the restaurant that faces Gaetz Avenue is known as the Nutcracker Room. Nutcrackers line the shelves and in the evening the room is lit up with festive lights that has drawn in more than a few passing motorists.

Kasey said staff are gearing up for the holidays. Christmas party season is just about to begin and they have plenty of bookings lined up.

ABC is not the only local dining spot that opted to go big this year.

Bo’s Bar and Stage has transformed into Miracle at Bo’s, designed by Red Deer’s Stems Flowers and Café.

Besides completely decking out the restaurant and bar with Christmas decorations and five themed scene areas, Bo’s is working with Miracle, which has organized a pop-up cocktail bar with themed drinks, special food menu and decorative glassware.

“It’s very over-the-top Christmassy,” said Wowk. “The idea is just to bring people together.”

To get into the spirit, people can also take in seasonal jam sessions, an ugly Christmas sweater karaoke night, acrobatic and aerialist shows on Thursdays and cover bands Friday and Saturday.



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ABS Restaurant assistant manager Kasey Homme said staff were happy that the annual Christmas makeover tradition was kept going by new owners Travis and Cassie White. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)

Bo's Bar and Stage has been transformed into Miracle at Bo's this holiday season. Besides elaborate decorations, the bar and restaurant is keeping the spirit alive with themed cocktail nights, ugly Christmas sweater karaoke and other entertainment. (Photo contributed)