COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Restaurants owners across Columbus are hoping New Year’s Eve will bring in big business as the Ohio State Buckeyes face off against the Georgia Bulldogs in Saturday’s Peach Bowl.
Co-owner of Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Bob Szuter, said OSU game day during the regular season can be a tough day. On Saturday, the Peach Bowl is starting at 8 p.m., tight in the middle of prime New Year’s Eve dining hours.
“Every Saturday for every restaurant across the city, it’s tough during Ohio State football seasons,” said Szuter.
Still, Szuter said the restaurant is booked until 9 p.m. on Saturday for reservations.
“Ohio State in general brings a lot to the central Ohio community so we’re not too upset about it, just wished they played at [1 p.m.] on New Year’s Eve instead of the prime-time hour there for restaurants,” he said.
The President and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association, John Barker, is predicting many will plan around the big game.
“I think what you’re going to see is that people who are really into football may not be going out to fine dining or if they do, they’re gonna be back home or somewhere to be around a TV about 8 o’clock,” said Barker.
Barker said casual restaurants usually see light traffic on New Year’s Eve. He expects to see business split between fine dining, sports bars or see people do both.
“Big Bowl game like that, lots of time outs and big half time show and all that, that game will probably run past 11 o’clock,” said Barker. “So, that could be good for business as well if people are out enjoying themselves, so we’re hoping for the best obviously and we’re optimistic.”
The last few New Year’s Eves has been tough with the COVID-19 pandemic, then the wave of omicron, said Szuter. This year is feeling more normal.
“At the end of the day, we’re looking pretty good, we’re pretty full, almost completely full for New Year’s Eve right now,” said Szuter. “There’s still are a few spaces available, but you know compared to where we were last year this is positive.”