CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland is embracing its role as hosts of the NFL Draft this year, but as much as the area’s businesses are excited to welcome locals and visitors with open arms, they’re facing a challenge.
“It’s easy for the chefs to order the food and everything — that’s the easy thing. The very difficult part that every restaurant is having is the staffing and the hiring,” said Patrick Granzier, Director of Operations for NCR Ventures which owns Lindey’s Lakehouse in the Flats.
That challenge is shared at Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar at Voinovich Bicentennial Park.
“We’re hiring people, we’re trying to get people trained. For not only being a part of Nuevo but just this large event that’s coming,” said owner and operator Lisa Marie Hirt.
Even so, they are extending their hours during the draft and both restaurants are hoping to staff up as much as possible.
“Because we’re on the water and people just want to be on the water, we’re anticipating that we’ll have some big crowds,” said Hirt.
Even though they’re further away from the draft stage, businesses in the Flats still expect to see a boost in foot traffic and sales.
“I think people are gonna walk around. We have people who are checking into hotels. We expect to be pretty busy on Wednesday just from people checking in and looking for a great place to eat,” said Granzier.
He says they’re looking forward to showcasing Lindey’s contribution to the city.
“Being on the water, and we have really great seafood options here. I think it’s going to be a memorable visit for anyone who joins us,” he said.
Plus, Nuevo will be trying out their new food truck at the NFL’s free Draft Experience area where people have been flocking to get a picture with the helmet decorations.
“So we’re just doing some tacos, and a dessert that would we would do off of the food truck here in the future,” said Hirt.
The businesses say Cleveland has a lot to offer.
“We have amazing restaurants in Cleveland, we have amazing chefs in Cleveland,” said Granzier.
“We are a big city for culinary and we just want to keep growing,” Hirt said.
Business owners also say they see the draft as the perfect stage.
“We’ve been waiting for this break so we get some sales and get back to somewhat normal,” said Granzier.
“Especially right now, right before summer starts, just getting through COVID and then getting here. It’s a true blessing that NFL Draft is here,” said Hirt.