Winners: bars, taxis


losers: restaurants

January 23, 1992|By Michael Dresser

Like the Super Bowl itself, business on Super Sunday is a game of winners, losers and mostly spectators.

If you own a tavern with a wide-screen television, this Sunday will be the night the beer and the money flow freely. If you own a restaurant with white tablecloths, you might as well lock yourself in the wine cellar. If you drive a taxi, it's going to be a hectic night.

"It changes the patterns of people's lives," said Richard Morgan, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor. And when that happens, some win and some lose:

GROCERS: The Redskins may be favored, but the Giants are a mortal lock. Come Sunday night, grocers will be able to relax and enjoy the game knowing the cash registers have been ringing all weekend as party hosts load up on cold cuts, munchies and beverages for the hungry hordes.

"We do a very much increased business before the game in people buying party platters," said Giant Food spokesman Barry Scher.

To allow its employees enjoy the game, Giant will close all of its stores at 6 p.m., four hours early.

LIQUOR STORES: "It's not a Christmas, it's not a Thanksgiving, but it's a definite plus," said Dan Sagel, owner of Joppa Liquors in Towson.

Other liquor distributors agree. At Jason's Liquors in Ellicott City, owner Ken Happel expects sales for the Super Bowl weekend to be up 20 percent to 25 percent from the average January weekend on what he calls the third-biggest drinking day of the year. (Christmas and New Year's Eve are No. 1 and No. 2, he said.)

RESTAURANTS: John Tilghman decided to punt.

Like a number of restaurateurs in the Baltimore area, the owner of the Milton Inn in Sparks decided it wouldn't pay to turn on the heat Sunday. "We took a look at our last couple of years and determined it's not worth it to be open for five to 10 people," he said.

PIZZAS: "It can be one of our busiest nights of the year," said Bill Kruse, the man in charge of Domino's Pizza's operations in the Middle Atlantic states.

"Our volume will increase by at least 25 percent from an average Sunday," he said, and the increase near military bases and campusescould be 50 percent to 100 percent.

HOTELS: You wouldn't have any trouble getting a room at the Hyatt Regency this Sunday, but the second-floor restaurant is likely to be packed. Overall, downtown hotels are Super Bowl losers because convention activity will virtually grind to a halt. The Hyatt is bringing in big televisions and has invited employees of hotels throughout the city to a Super Bowl bash with free hors d'oeuvres and special prizes.

TAVERNS: Super Bowl Sunday is a wonderful day to own a tavern. And if it's a tavern with a sports theme and a wide-screen television, it's heaven.

At Sneakers in Columbia's Long Reach Village, owner Dennis Imbesi is laying in seven to eight bushels of oysters and 120 to 140 pounds ofbeef for a bull-and-oyster roast. The food will be free, but Mr. Imbesi expects to more than make up for in liquor sales.

TAXIS: It's a good night for taxis because of those celebrations. Rather than risk a driving-while-intoxicated charge, many tipplers choose to take a taxi to and from taverns and parties.

"It isn't as good as New Year's Eve," said Tony Miller, who answers the phones at Overlea Cab Co., "but it probably will rank with the top four days of the year."

SPORTING GOODS: If you have any doubt that Baltimore has become Redskins country, just visit a local sporting goods store and look at the Super Bowl display. The team's logo may be politically incorrect, but it sells a lot of T-shirts, hats and sweat shirts.

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