As hotels fill up with professional golfers and their avid fans for next week's U.S. Open, many local restaurants are preparing for a constant stream of customers.
“The 200 restaurants in Bethesda are looking to get good business from the people who are staying in the area,” said Simon Hewson, RiRa Irish Pub general manager.
Friday, the Bethesda Urban Partnership was busy making sure area hotels had plenty of copies of their recently updated restaurant guide as guests began to check in.
Most restaurants in the cities surrounding Congressional Country Club, where the tournament is slated to take place, plan to have extra staffing from June 13 to 19 so they’re better equipped to handle the expected increase in business. While most haven’t planned entirely new menus for the event, Caddies on Cordell, in Bethesda, will serve three $7 golf-themed drinks.
Caddies, a golf-themed bar, uses the tag line, "Bethesda's 19th hole."
Despite the tough economic times, Chevy Chase restaurants hope that their proximity to large hotels will help to boost their business during this typically slow season.
“We expect all the surrounding hotels to be full,” Clyde’s general manager Tony Monyangh said. “So the big influx of people will help business.”
Potomac restaurants, however, aren’t sure they’ll see as big of an increase in business because they aren't as close to hotels, and many spectators are being bused directly to the tournament from satellite parking areas.
“From past experience, it’s hit or miss,” Normandie Farm owner Cary Prokos said. “If they’re bused in they’ll usually just go back to their cars. So some years it really hasn’t been good.”
However, other Potomac restaurants have already noticed a bump in their business from workers who are helping with the preparations for the U.S. Open., and some closer to Congressional anticipate an increase in business with so many spectators in the area.
“We’ve had a lot of construction workers from the event coming in so we’ve definitely benefited,” Potomac Pizza owner Adam Greenberg said. “This is kind of new for a lot of us because the last time the U.S. Open was here in 1997 it wasn’t as great a caliber of an event.”
Potomac Pizza is also one of several restaurants in the community participating in county executive Isiah Leggett’s “We’re Open” program, created to help boost the local economy. Local restaurants and businesses are featured on the campaign’s discount card, which will be distributed in all of the county’s hotel rooms, offering 10 percent or more off their merchandise.
With approximately 250,000 people coming to the tournament, according to the June 1 USGA transportation plan, Greenberg said he isn’t sure whether the program will work, but he’s glad to be a part of it.