This weekend will provide a first for Statesboro restaurants that aim to parlay new laws into big business.
Sunday, for the first time during a Super Bowl, local owners can attract dining crowds by capitalizing on the recently granted right to sell alcohol by the drink on Sundays.
The November decision by citizens to abolish blue laws in the city could mean that no matter the result on the field, local businesses can be winners off of it.
“Sunday alcohol sales will turn Super Bowl Sunday into a good day, when in every other year, ever, the day has been one of the worst,” said Jim Lanier, owner of Locos Grill and Pub. “Every year for the past 10 years that we have been open, Super Bowl Sunday has been awful. But I am really looking forward to the day this year.”
Restaurant owners say they expect much larger crowds than in years past, since Super Bowl viewers can now have alcoholic drinks with meals in a place other than their home.
“I am anticipating that this will be the best Super Bowl Sunday that we have ever had,” said Per Holtze, general manager of Manny’s Neighborhood Grill. “Our Sunday business is good during the NFL season and it has picked up now that we have alcohol sales.”
Reason for optimism, they say, has been given by large Sunday-turnouts for playoff football games since Dec. 11, when the new law went into effect.
“Sunday sales have had a huge impact,” Lanier said. “Sunday alcohol sales have been everything it’s cracked up to be. People enjoy having a beer with their burger while watching a football game.”
“We absolutely saw an increase (in business),” said Brian Kelly, owner of Kbob Kelly’s. “We had really good Sundays after the new law.”
In case big-screen televisions and a few drinks aren’t reason enough to watch the game in area restaurants, many owners are offering up special events and deals for visiting patrons.
“We are certainly hoping for and expecting a large crowd for Sunday. So we are running all sorts of food and drink specials,” Kelly said. “We’ll have oysters and give away free hot wings.”
“We will have some distributors in the store giving away t-shirts and other items,” Lanier said.
For those who take advantage of Sunday drinks during the Super Bowl, they will have to do so before too late.
According to the Statesboro Code of Ordinances, no location, whether restaurant or other store, can sell alcohol once the clock strikes 11 p.m. on a Sunday.
This year’s Super Bowl, showcasing the New England Patriots and New York Giants, is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.