Tonawanda News

Local News

February 2, 2014

Biting cold puts a freeze on restaurant business

Tonawanda News — From the Midwest to Webster Street, Old Man Winter’s heavy hand this year is taking its toll on restaurants’ cash registers and reservation books.

At the recently opened Webster Bistro and Bar, owner Rosemarie Bobel said the deep freeze has definitely made for some slower nights than normal.

“It’s been mixed, really. When the days were really, really frigid, we still had people coming in, but it was more people just from the immediate local area,” she said. “The really cold days, it’s affecting us.

“During the week, our business has definitely been cut in half.”

The homemade matzo ball and beef barley soups are lost on customers walking into Rascals’ NY Deli — because there just aren’t very many of them.

“After it starts getting really cold and the sun goes down, the people don’t want to come,” said Randy Smith, manager of the restaurant in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash.

Across much of the eastern half of the country, bitter cold and snowstorms in recent weeks have put a chill on restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops, limiting the number of walk-in customers and shrinking tips. Some merchants report sales cut in half.

The January deep freeze wrought by the polar vortex in the Midwest, a big snowfall in the Northeast and abnormal cold and snow in the Deep South has moved many to hibernate.

Only four people picked at pancakes and eggs during what should have been the morning rush at American Table Family Restaurant, a Toledo diner, while the temperature dipped to 9 below Tuesday. The nearly 40 inches of snow this month is a record for January and more than what the city normally gets in an entire winter.

“Some of the regulars, I haven’t seen in a week and half, two weeks,” said owner Elton Bregu.

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