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Boca Raton businesses score big thanks to Florida Atlantic University's historic March Madness run

'It's been crazy. It’s been a really great run,' says Biergarten Boca Raton general manager
Florida Atlantic University fans celebrate at Biergarten Boca Raton after the Owls' victory in the Elite Eight on March 25, 2023.jpg
Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-29 17:56:30-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — As the Florida Atlantic University Owls arrive in Houston for this weekend's Final Four, the team is putting their city on the map.

Boca Raton is getting nationwide attention for something it's never really been known for: sports.


There are a lot of watch party locations throughout the area for Saturday night's FAU game against San Diego State, but one of the biggest will be at Biergarten Boca Raton. And every game that goes forward not only boosts the spirit and the crowd, but the bar and restaurant's bottom line as well

"Tell me how it’s been feeling here the past couple of weeks?" WPTV journalist Stephanie Susskind asked Biergarten general manager Erik Brinkmann, a Boca Raton native.

"It's been crazy. It’s been a really great run," Brinkmann answered. "We do the coaches show here for FAU basketball and we knew they had something special."

Brinkmann said the energy surrounding this team is something he's never seen before.

"People are just beside themselves and proud of the team. The guys have shown a lot of grit, a lot of fight. They don’t give up and there’s a lot to learn from that," Brinkmann said.

And a lot to gain for small businesses like himself. Brinkmann said this will go down as his biggest month ever in 12 years.

"Business-wise, it’s great," Brinkmann said.

Just down the road at The Irishmen Pub, owner Rossa Flood is experiencing much of the same.

"It’s very busy. Very, very busy," Flood said. "But a great crowd. A mixture of ages. Everything from students, age 21, all the way up to people who work around town, staff, and faculty from the university."

Flood said it's been like a month full of St. Patrick's Days.

"For small businesses and the city in general, it just puts us on the map. Boca Raton is not known to be this young, vibrant city, but it really is," Flood said.

"'In Dusty We Trusty,' and that tag line has got currency. We believe we can win it all," said Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer.

Singer was in New York watching the hometown team make history. He said the city is working closely with FAU to make sure the Owls are celebrated for all they've done to bring this community together.

"The exposure we're getting — both for the university and the city as a whole — is incredible because we have a whole nation talking about the ballers from Boca, the boys from Boca. It’s a great chance to tell our story," Singer said.

So as this story continues, Boca businesses are ready for the boys to bring it all home.

"We bring everything in and buy everything we can and are ready to sell it," Flood said.

"We also have the University of Miami. Palm Beach County alumni watches their games here as well," Brinkmann said.

"So you gotta change the lights Saturday night?" Susskind asked Brinkmann.

"I gotta change the lights, but I'm not changing my shirt," Brinkmann replied.