Businesses disappointed by turnout for Notre Dame home opener

NOW: Businesses disappointed by turnout for Notre Dame home opener

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--It hasn’t been a normal year for businesses in Michiana, and certainly not a normal Notre Dame game-day weekend for restaurants and bars who are used to seeing a full-house of Irish fans.

“It’s usually a full house by 9-9:15 in the morning and it’s a mad house, you know max capacity usually until like 11-12 o’clock at night, and that wasn’t the case,” Taphouse On the Edge Co-Owner Jeff Morauski said.

Taphouse On the Edge sports bar and restaurant located on the edge of Notre Dame’s campus co-owner Jeff Morauski said it’s been a sad year for their business, and a disappointing turnout this past weekend.

“There are so many bars and restaurants around campus for these weekends you know that are dependent on these massive weekends to survive the whole year so you know that parts hard,” Morauski said.

However, with students back on campus and football back on, they have experienced better business than before during the pandemic.

“You know we were hoping with the home game coming that that would drive some more revenue and traffic this way and you know and it did drive more than a normal Saturday we’ve had since COVID but surely not anything close to before COVID home games,” Morauski said.

Other restaurants with a strong Notre Dame presence like O’Rourkes pub on Eddy Street also experiencing a slow game-day weekend.

“Business was about 25 percent of what it was for this same weekend last year,” O’Rourkes partner and owner of Navarre Hospitality Group Kurt Janiesky said. “We had hoped it would be better than that, we certainly were ready for better than that and more than that.”

The atmosphere in the restaurant and around Notre Dame was something that Janiesky said he’s never seen before.

“It was eerily quiet. you know at 10 o’clock on a game day when the parking lot would normally be full, the stadium people would be everywhere eddy street commons would be packed with people, there was nobody,” Janiesky said.

While the times we live in are uncertain, both owners said that restaurants still are a safe and fun place to come socialize and enjoy the football games!

“We got you covered no matter what position you’re in,” Janiesky said.

“I would just encourage people you know to be safe and be cautious but still check us out and if they can’t and they’re not feeling up to that then i totally get it and I would encourage carry out order from your local restaurant,” Morauski said.

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