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Zoot at your table: A Christmas dinner alternative

Mike Sutter
Christmas dinner choices from the takeout menu at Zoot include the chopped salad, at top left, roasted game hen and winter vegetable risotto.

It's a cruel conundrum for restaurateurs that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year fall on a Friday and a Saturday. Like anybody celebrating a holiday, they and their staffs want to spend time with their families (their real families, that is). But Fridays and Saturdays happen to be their busiest days. Some decide to go ahead and open. Others look for more creative ways to serve their bottom lines and their customer base at the same time.

The progressive bistro Zoot will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but co-owner Stewart Scruggs is rolling out a Christmas edition of its takeout service. For $15 apiece, the Christmas dinner for takeout will be a choice of prime rib or roasted game hen with winter vegetable risotto and chopped salad. Order in advance, then arrange pickup Dec. 21-23 from noon to 8:30 p.m. Add a chocolate bourbon pecan pie or pumpkin pie for $15.

Zoot started its takeout service in October, with dinners for $11. These are home-style dishes not found on Zoot's more acrobatic regular menu. Through Sunday, for example, order in advance and pick from chicken and dumplings, spaghetti and meatballs or braised pork shoulder. Tuesday through Dec. 19, the menu switches to lasagna, chicken potpie or meatloaf, each with sides and bread. Add a salad for $6 or an individual dessert for $7 or $8.

The takeout service is part of Zoot's response to its neighborhood, Scruggs said. The restaurant moved to Bee Cave Road last year after 18 years in West Austin.

‘Everyone out here has very busy schedules. And they kind of feel like the schedule has beaten them on the day they find themselves in the McDonald's drive-through line,' he said. ‘We're just trying to help the schedules of the people around us. This is what neighborhood places do, and we're trying our best to be the best neighborhood place we can be.'

Zoot is at 11715 Bee Cave Road. 477-6535, www.zootrestaurant.com. For New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the restaurant will be open at 5:30 p.m., serving its regular menu.

msutter@statesman.com; 912-5902