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Restaurants Hope for Business Boost This Holiday Season

NBC Connecticut logo NBC Connecticut 4 days ago Caitlin Burchill
A series of restaurant signs at Parkville Market in Hartford. © Provided by NBC Connecticut

A series of restaurant signs at Parkville Market in Hartford.

With small business Saturday around the corner, state leaders are hoping to see some support for local dining too.

Last holiday season when Covid-19 cases picked up and the weather got colder, it meant a lot of empty dining rooms. But this holiday season local restaurants are more optimistic that hungry people will have their backs after a rough stretch during the height of the pandemic.

"It’s been all over the place. We’ve had some really awesome times and we’ve had some really struggling times," said Anthony Stewart, general manager at Que Whiskey Kitchen in Southington.

But the top shelf staff at Que Whiskey Kitchen is thankful this Thanksgiving for their customers.

"We’re having a little potluck today. Figured we’d grab a few smoked turkeys from the best barbeque place in town," explained Lenny Murtishi from Plantsville.

In the smoker behind their Southington digs, dedicated chefs are preparing more than 70 birds for pickup.

"A lot of people are doing bigger gatherings with their families, so it’s like you know, let us take something off your plate," Stewart said.

Restaurateurs are banking on Wednesday night and the upcoming holidays for a business boost.

Over in Hartford at Parkville Market, the food hall's owner reflected on what he was thankful for - all the support received when opening up during a pandemic.

"I had no choice it was built. It cost so much money. I had to figure out a way to pay it," explained Carlos Mouta.

Mouta got emotional describing all the help he received, from the Small Business Association helping him get loans to stay afloat to the hungry people that followed.

“They really helped me out," Mouta said through tears.

Building on the food hall's success, state leaders served up a suggestion, asking people to dine at locally-owned spots for the holiday season and beyond.

"We survived," said Deco Carvalho, from of Brazilian Gula Grill at Parkville Market. "We’re here and I think the next year is going to be promising."

With outdoor dining a less popular option in the cold, the CT Restaurant Association reminds everyone that a dine-in or pickup will mean that much more.

"So we’re going to need the support to get us through this winter. With the challenges of worker shortage, with the challenges of rising costs, all these businesses are faced with," Scott Dolch, executive director of the CT Restaurant Assocation said.

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