PITTSBURGH — We know Pittsburgh has some great sports fans, but with no one allowed to attend games right now, businesses are taking a huge hit and taking whatever they can get.
“It’s difficult. We normally would have a few hundred people here on a busy game night,” said Mike Sukitch.
Sukitch owns the North Shore Tavern and Mike’s Beer Bar outside of PNC Park.
Both businesses he says are seasonal and heavily rely on sports events, especially when the Pirates play and even the Steelers.
“We are just planning now to tread water until next baseball season. We don’t expect for there to be fans or if there are fans for football either, so it’s going to be a challenge. It’s a terrible year,” said Sukitch.
Restaurants and bars outside PPG Paints Arena that capitalize on Penguins games are also struggling.
Hapa Hawaiian Grill is about a block away from the arena.
An employee tells me they opened just before the COVID-19 pandemic -- bad timing in the sports world.
“February is a good time for sports. You have baseball starting, the end of hockey. It’s a nice little window that we are missing out on,” said Dakota Randolph, kitchen manager at Hapa Hawaiian Grill.
Employees tell Channel 11 the business relies on foot traffic from Penguins fans but instead for now, they are making it work with takeout and doing everything they can to stay in business.
“No one wants all the restaurants to close. Pittsburgh has a really nice food scene and I don’t think anyone wants to risk that,” Randolph said.
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