Michigan bars and restaurant see big game boost on Sunday
NILES, Mich. - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced last week that restaurants and bars can open their dining areas to 25% capacity. With the National Football League's championship game on Sunday, some restaurants and bars hoped the two would give them a big game boost with customers coming in to watch the game. For some businesses that boost came just not in the form of crowded dining areas and screaming fans.
"We're hoping that with the 25% being able to open that it will bring in more business for us," said Kimberly Gross, a manager at Joey Armadillo's. "We have seen an increase. Over the weekend, we had a really good weekend, Friday and Saturday."
Joey Armadillo's bar and dining area was mostly empty Sunday for the big game, but other staff members said the bowling alley saw an increase in traffic. It was a stark difference compared to years past.
"Two years ago, we had about seven groups come in during the football game, like right at half time," said Dalton Dovrzykowski who works at Joey Armadillo's. "They were just having a blast, watching the game, yelling. It made me really excited, honestly."
Other businesses like the Iron Shoe Distillery said Sunday was exactly what it needed.
"It's been amazing," said Thomas Seamen, Iron Shoe's head chef. "We couldn't have a better outcome. It's been a very positive thing. Everyone's very ready to be out in Michigan."
Seamen said Iron Shoe got its boost from carry-out and curbside services.
"We had a lot of catering, a lot of carryouts, a lot of wings," Seamen said. "Everyone loves wings."
Some Michigan Super Bowl fans found time to go out to a bar on Sunday because of the easing of restrictions by Governor Whitmer, but then bought food to take back home to their Big Game parties on the couch.
"I'm going home to sit on the couch where I'm comfortable," Jeff Nash, a regular at Joey Armadillo's said. "I came in to buy a couple pizzas."
Other fans said watching the game brought back a sense of normalcy while still in the midst of the pandemic.