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Restaurants Work Their Own Family Traditions Into Winter Menus

The result: everything from Filipino food to oyster stew.

Oyster stew at Macon Bistro.
Oyster stew at Macon Bistro.
Macon Bistro
Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

Food, family and the holidays are inextricably linked. And that means some local chefs are turning to their own childhood traditions — or even relying on their actual family members — to help them in creating dishes this season.

Oyster stew is a Christmas Eve tradition in some households, including the one Macon Bistro chef Tony Brown grew up in. His father was a dairy farmer so they didn't have a ton of money growing up, but they always stretched to get oysters to make stew on Christmas Eve. Brown is bringing his own, elevated comfort food version of the dish to the menu starting this week for $13 a bowl.

Meanwhile, Cathal Armstrong is creating a menu to celebrate the Philippines tradition of Noche Buena, a family feast where visitors come by to say "Maligayang Pasko" ("Merry Christmas). Armstrong, whose wife and business partner Meshelle Armstrong is Filipino, and his menu at Restaurant Eve (which changes daily) incorporates Filipino Street BBQ, capon Adobo and more. It's $60 per person and runs through January.

GCDC is relying on owner Bruce Klore's own mother, Esther (who is 83 years old) to prepare her special brisket recipe for the restaurant during Hanukkah. It's being used in The Maccabee sandwich, which features the brisket, cheddar cheese and dill pickles on Challah bread. It's available through Dec. 24.