Restaurants near Carter-Finley Stadium see record crowds during Stadium Series weekend

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Monday, February 20, 2023
Restaurants near Carter-Finley Stadium see record crowds over weekend
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The NHL Stadium Series weekend brought thousands of people to Raleigh this weekend.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Backyard Bistro is coming off of one of its busiest weekends yet.

The NHL Stadium Series weekend brought thousands of people to Raleigh this weekend, and restaurants like Backyard Bistro were positioned to welcome the crowds.

The restaurant is across the street from Carter-Finely Stadium where the hockey game was hosted.

Bar Manager Jesse Gibson said business was booming.

"We love to see a weekend packed. We love to see it. Comparatively speaking. I mean, you're looking at a 300% increase on what a normal Saturday is," said Gibson.

He said crowds started to fill the restaurant on Thursday and with each day that passed, the crowds of people grew. Gibson said they had to bring in more employees to handle the rush, especially on Saturday the day of the big matchup of the Canes versus the Washington Capitals.

"It was a long day. We had people pulling 13-14-hour days. And everybody seemed to walk in and out with smiles on faces," he said.

The Stadium Series proved to be great for the region, the restaurant business, and the hospitality industry. From more people dining out, visitors filling up hotels, and shopping locally, the impact will soon show in dollars and cents.

The actual economic impact on the region hasn't been tallied yet, but it is projected to bring in at least $12 million based on ticket sales data.

"The actual impact of the Stadium Series, I would say was, monumental," said Gibson.

But with every success, there are lessons learned and challenges. Fans who attended the Stadium Series game said it was traffic. Fans lined up early to park and ended up waiting hours to get to the lot.

"We've been to Stanley Cup, World Series, and every outdoor game the Caps have been in. And this is by far the worst event I've ever been to in my life," said one hockey fan.

Tim Allen and his friend ditched their car and walked to the stadium after waiting on Edwards Mill Road for an hour to park.

"I feel like we're all tailgaters here in Carolina. And, you know, obviously we know how to do things and you'd think they'd have it open and ready to go like professionals but guess not," said Allen.