Bar and restaurant owners hope Dine Out Downtown helps bring business back to Raleigh –


Bar and restaurant owners hope Dine Out Downtown helps bring business back to Raleigh –

By Kirsten Gutiérrez, WRAL reporterAs vaccine rollout continues and restrictions are eas

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By Kirsten Gutiérrez, WRAL reporter

As vaccine rollout continues and restrictions are eased, we’re seeing our state rebound.

According to Visit Raleigh, restaurants, bars and hotels are all in hiring mode. The restaurant industry is expecting a boost this weekend with Dine Out Downtown in Raleigh.

Restaurant owners along Fayetteville Street in Raleigh are thrilled – the more business, the better.

Come Saturday night, things will look different. Many indoor tables will be in the street, which will be closed off for people to enjoy dinner with some live entertainment.

A select few restaurants along Fayetteville street – like The Big Easy – are busy preparing for Dine out Downtown for the first time in a year.

“I think it’s just a unique experience for people,” said The Big Easy owner Steve Hunt.

The event, hosted by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, is something severs and residents are looking forward to.

“I have a lot of friends in the service industry. To see them have their jobs back and to see us support them safely of course,” said Raleigh resident Sean Barcelona.

Starting Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. you can enjoy dinner outside with live music; something many of us haven’t heard in a while.

“I think one of the saddest parts about the pandemic has been concerts, live music things of that sorts, said Raleigh resident Patrick Murphey. “I have a good friend whose business has been destroyed by it so it’s nice to see that coming back.”

Getting back to a resemblance of normalcy involves an extra layer of protection. Tables will be spaced out 6 feet apart and masks are required when you’re not eating or drinking.

“I also think the rollout of the vaccine makes people a lot more confident about coming out,” Hunt said.

At Sono Sushi, the majority of the staff has been vaccinated to also help ease concerns.

There is one thing restaurants are worried about, however, and it doesn’t involve the virus.

“I know tomorrow’s going to be cold so I don’t know how many people will want to sit outside but I think it’s going to be a great event,” said Miko Nishio, General Manager of Sono Sushi.

Dine Out Downtown will take place every Saturday from now through June. The event will rotate between four locations in the downtown area, including Glenwood South.