Dozens of Buffalo restaurants will be called upon to handle the tournament’s most challenging logistical task: serving food to more than 18,000 people in a span of 90 minutes between the two sessions of games on Thursday.
“It’s very difficult to find 18,000 vacant seats, no matter what time of day it is,” said Michael Even, vice president of sales for Visit Buffalo Niagara. “These folks have one thing in mind – get out, get something to eat and get back inside.”
Streamlined menus with a “grab and go” approach can keep the crowds moving, especially when all of the tables are full.
“Salads, corned beef on rye, roast beef – those are things people won’t be waiting too long for,” said Conor Hawkins, manager of D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub on Franklin Street.
“Essentially, we’re going to neglect our standard menu and shorten it with a few cold wraps, like turkey and Buffalo braised chicken,” said Justin Paulazzo, executive chef at Buffalo Iron Works on Illinois Street. “We may rent a 15-foot grill, and have a grab-and-go hamburger and hot dog station.
“We’re also going to sell tickets so you can walk up to a beer or food booth to speed things along,” Paulazzo said. “We’re definitely going to make it as quick and efficient as possible.”
The Liberty Hound relies on its patio to help accommodate large crowds in the summer. Because temperatures won’t be warm enough to open the patio this week, the restaurant rented space in the nearby Naval Park exhibit building, known as the Hangar, where it will set up a craft beer garden with live music and barbecue.
“We anticipate a great crowd,” said Jason Davidson, co-owner. “We’re built for volume.”
Many more dining options will be available a short ride away, either by shuttle or Metro rail.
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