Diamonds Family Restaurant serves food, fellowship on Christmas

DECATUR — Great food at Christmas is a gift best enjoyed with friends.

For many, that means sitting down at home to a sumptuous meal in the company of family. But for those whose family lives far away, the jewel of hospitality gleams brightly at Decatur’s Diamonds Family Restaurant, where great dining and bonhomie never take a break, even on Christmas Day.

The place opened at 6 a.m. and was jumping from the get-go. Waitresses dressed in festive attire ranging from clip-on reindeer antlers to flashing Christmas light necklaces weaved among the packed tables bearing plates full of everything from turkey and dressing to roast pork, baked ham, baked chicken, catfish filets and what are billed as the best ribs anywhere at the best price.

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Tawanna Wiggins delivers service with a smile at Diamonds Family Restaurant in Decatur on Sunday. Decked out in her festive finery, she was busy entering orders from hungry diners with an appetite for good food and good company. 

Tony Reid

Restaurant owner Buki Limani knows his clientele and, after 11 years of running the business, has come to realize that not everybody can, or wants, to eat at home. “We are a family restaurant and we know there are a lot of families that don’t have a place to go, or are older and cannot cook,” he said.

“So today, we are open for everybody and those special families; from our family to yours, merry Christmas.”

It’s also a place where others feel moved to be generous at Christmastime. The Diamonds Facebook page saluted Jeff Rauch with Decatur Elks 401 who recently stopped by and announced to the customers eating or about to order breakfast that the tab was on him. And then he also tipped the employees $100 each.

Diamonds regular Jim Wells, 67, said it’s always a warm, friendly restaurant where he chooses to eat most days — and Christmas Day was no different. “I was here last night (Saturday) also,” he said with a smile.

“Look, my kids are grown, they’re gone, and so I come in here to see people and talk to these guys (he waves a hand at passing staff) and meet new friends.”

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Tie Whitmore, a Diamonds server of some 18 years experience, salutes the camera before grabbing more heavily laden plates and heading out into the bustling restaurant. 

Tony Reid

Wells was busy finishing off a slice of cherry pie and was hard put to think of any way Diamonds, with its broad menu of gastronomic indulgence and healthy doses of inclusiveness, could be better. And then it came to him.

“Well now, if we had a checkerboard it would be just like home,” he said.

This thing of avoiding eating alone isn’t just seen as something many adults find it healthy to practice. There is now a coast to coast event called “National No One Eats Alone Day” that is aimed at getting America’s students to share a dining hall table, and conversation, at school.

It was started 10 years ago in California and now involves schools in all 50 states and more than one million students. The No One Eats Alone day set aside in 2023 to break the ice with potential friends you haven’t met yet is Feb. 17; to find out more, go to

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By mid-morning on Christmas Day, the Diamonds Family Restaurant was already busy. It stayed open until 3 p.m. and is back open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Tony Reid

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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