WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — South Florida restaurants that have struggled for months experienced crowds on Super Bowl Sunday.
While many customers decided to-go orders were best, others decided to eat out for the big game.
Restaurant owners said the support means more than ever before as they continue to push through the pandemic.
"We started out this morning with an early brunch and we're just going straight into the Super Bowl party," said Mike Johnson, owner of Majestic Ash Lounge & Southern Spice. "We didn't anticipate a large turnout tonight because of COVID, but we definitely have a decent crowd and a good vibe going on right now."
Johnson played college football at Temple University under current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians.
"A lot of people in here tonight, they're very excited," said Johnson. "Thank God we do have a lot of Bucs fans in here tonight."
During what many business owners consider hard times, Johnson said he's thankful that customers decided to spend their Super Bowl Sunday at his restaurant.
"The customers here, most of them are just like family," said Johnson. "They're here all the time. Everyone's pretty excited about the game and the Bucs. We do have a couple Chiefs fans in here as well."
At Duffy's Sports Grill in Palm Beach Gardens, general manager Steven McEachin began taking reservations for the Super Bowl last week.
"It's a day of the year that everyone always looks forward to," said McEachin.
McEachin said with just high demand for seats, he had to create a seating chart of reserved tables that would still allow for social distancing.
"It's definitely two-fold," said McEachin. "You get to pick a prime seat to watch the game. It also gives us an idea of how we need to space our tables and our bar seats to make sure that everyone does stay safe."
Both Johnson and McEachin said customers choosing to support their restaurants either in person or with to-go orders now means more than ever.
"Just like every other business in the world, we have been affected by this," said McEachin. "Things aren't normal like they were last year, but we're here. We're surviving. We're actually doing very, very well, to be honest with you, and we're happy."