Restaurants open for Valentine’s Day after winter storm

Feb. 14, 2014 @ 05:53 PM

Valentine’s Day is for restaurants what Christmas is for retail shops, said Matt Kelly, the owner of Durham’s Mateo Tapas restaurant.

So Kelly said that being closed for two days prior to the big day because of the snow did have an impact on the business.

The restaurant and bar closed Wednesday and Thursday because of the winter storm, Kelly said, which meant they had to cancel reservations and forgo the business of walk-in customers.

They were open for Valentine’s Day, and while they had some cancellations, Kelly said they also had some new reservations.

But Kelly said the storm impacted deliveries to the restaurant and the ability of some employees to get in to work for the big day on Valentine’s Day, and also cut down on prep time.

 “One of the busiest weeks of the year-- and you close two days,” he said.

At the downtown Durham restaurant Dos Perros, general manager Raul Gonzalez was busy Friday afternoon calling customers to confirm their dinner reservations. At the time of the interview, Gonzalez said the restaurant was expecting 381 people on Friday, and approximately 340 on Saturday.

“People have been confirming,” he said. “People are on-track so far,” he added.

Gonzalez said the restaurant was impacted by the winter storm. He said they had reservations for about 120 people on Thursday, and ended up opening for the approximately 60 or so people who kept their reservations. They ended up with more than 250 people.

“It was a little bit crazy,” he said.

Jim Anile, the owner of the downtown restaurant Revolution, said that while the restaurant didn’t expect an impact on the restaurant’s Valentine’s Day traffic, he did see a reduction in business because of the number of people who could not get to the Durham Performing Arts Center for the “Book of Mormon” show.

“They had the show, but nobody was going,” he said. “We probably lost three-fourths of our reservations for each day.”

Anile said that while he wasn’t sure what to expect for Valentine’s Day on Friday night, he said he thought the restaurant might make up for the business lost on Wednesday and Thursday from people with cabin fever.

“I think (Friday night) the roads are clear enough and it’s a special occasion, and all this stuff…I think that we will not lose as much,” he said.