Construction along South Broadway around the Louisiana intersection -- utility work culminating with a large hole in the street -- has taken its toll, causing long traffic delays. But motorists aren't the only people whose patience has been tested. Restaurants located at the epicenter of the construction project are trying to deal with stymied sales.
"The construction is affecting us negatively and we have definitely seen a dip in sales," says Cyrus Stokeld, general manager of GB Fish and Chips at 1311 South Broadway. "There's a big hole right in front of us."
Construction has not only closed off easy access to the parking lot that GB shares with Winchell's doughnut shop (customers can still access it through the alley), but the restaurant may wind up losing its front patio once construction is finished.
"We aren't sure how far they are going to come up the existing sidewalk," Stokeld says. "We are seeing less first-timers, and people who came in over the weekend said they didn't even bother last week." And that's even with a happy hour deal that includes 75 cent PBR from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Across the street, Pasquini's (1310 South Broadway) and the Spicy Pickle (1298 South Broadway) are both trying to cope. "I'm looking at it right now," says Lauren Ireland, Spicy Pickle general manager, when I ask about the hole. "We had the construction right in front, and it puts the customers in a bad mood, and there isn't anything I can do." But the sandwich shop is trying, running BOGO specials and honoring a construction-deal flier even though the it lists an expired end date. But then, the construction continues.
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"It's crushing our day business," says the general manager at the original Pasquini's. "People are avoiding South Broadway." And things were worst in August, when Louisiana was closed from Broadway to Logan and business at the restaurant was down 30 percent. "It's been a bit of a double whammy with the construction and the econo-acolpyse," he adds.
Still, the company in charge of the project has been considerate of the businesses it's affecting. "They have been really good," says the Pasquini's GM. "They have been helping to protect our interests and sticking to the timelines they have told us."
To sweeten the experience for customers who make it past the construction zone, Pasquini's has been giving lunch guests a free dessert taster as a thank-you for stopping by. and September sales have improved some over August.
While this area could remain a cone zone for another six months, the restaurants here are in for the long haul -- and prepared to reward diners who brave the disaster area.