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Lehigh Valley

Restaurants already benefiting from arena buzz

Restaurants already benefiting from arena buzz

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - If you build it, they will come. That's the hope, anyway, of businesses hoping to make a buck in the shadow of the arena in Allentown.

The Eagles are the first of four straight weeks of high-profile musical acts, that include Cher, Rascal Flats and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

"On a night that have 8-9,000 people walking into an arena, will see an upswing. Most important is getting people into the restaurant for the first time and have a great experience," said Jason Lonigro, general manager, The Hamilton Kitchen and Bar.

In its first month, The Hamilton Kitchen and Bar, located directly across the arena, is already having a business experience worth savoring. Lonigro said reservations for the night of the Eagles are sold out at 200-plus.

"But still have availability for Cher and Rascal Flatts, but that could change overnight," he said.

It's not just The Hamilton that hopes the shows add some bite to its business. The Allentown BrewWorks also has great expectations for concert night.  The restaurant's general manager said extra staff will be on hand in case of an added crowd.

Other restaurants said it's too early to tell. They said they expect a bump, but at this point don't know how big a bump that will be.

Billy's Downtown Diner opened a location in Allentown several months ago. Despite closing at 3 p.m., owner Yanna Kounoupis said he expects the concerts to have a trickledown effect to her business, as perceptions of downtown keep changing.

"People are definitely trying to see where this venue is and everything that is being built," Yanna said.

It's a tune worth celebrating, at least for who serve in the downtown.

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