RICHFIELD -- On Christmas night the Red Pepper was bustling.
Owner Sue Kint juggled a steady stream of customers, some eat-in and others picking up take-out orders.
"Yes, we have this every year on Christmas," Kint told KARE. "We've been open Christmas Day for more than 20 years here."
Many of the patrons don't observe the Christmas tradition, but they do have a regular date with Chinese food on December 25th.
"I think this has been a tradition for a lot of people for many, many years," Ronni Tallen of Minneapolis told KARE.
"Even if they had other choices I think they'd be coming for Chinese food."
Tallen spent the holiday working at the Humphrey Terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, helping customers get to their gates. But she wouldn't miss this culinary tradition.
"As you probably can imagine from looking around here, that we -- as many of the people here -- celebrate Hanukkah," she said.
"And that ended a couple weeks ago, so you might call this our post-Hanukkah celebration!"
The Red Pepper, and its competitors, discovered long ago that there will always be a demand for Szechuan, Peking and Hunan cuisine on Christmas day.
"I've been coming here since I was a kid, and now I'm 44," Brad Kaplan told KARE.
"When you're Jewish you come out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and eat Chinese food!"
His daughter Olivia chimed in, "Yes every year. But Chinese is good."
Of course, you don't have to be Jewish to want to leave the cooking to someone else on Christmas.
"We started this tradition last year, and the kids said we want Chinese this year," take-out customer Beth Gibbs explained.
"We did the family thing during the day and here we are tonight! We're taking it home, eating by the Christmas tree."
For some landing at the Red Pepper on Christmas night was just a twist of fate.
"We wanted to see the 'Les Miserables' at Lakeville but it was too packed, so we just went home and we decided we wanted something for dinner," Anya Kasterton, a high school student, explained.
"So we came here."
(Copyright 2012 KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)