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Downtown restaurants score big thanks to Phoenix Suns fans

Posted at 10:10 PM, Feb 16, 2021

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns brought out the most amount of people downtown has seen in a while.

Tuesday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets kicked off the new capacity change inside Talking Stick Resort Arena - double the number of fans. It was also a big win for surrounding businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Willie's Taco Joint has had its doors closed since June, but management decided to make an exception.

"Obviously, we have been closed because of the pandemic but, we decided to open up today with basketball allowing fans in," said Manager Michael Weber.

The Phoenix Suns are now allowing 3,000 fans inside the arena for games.

Many restaurants were looking forward to a boost in sales before and after the game.

"Basically, three guys here working, trying to make a few bucks," says Weber.

Willie's Taco Joint has been struggling financially but they thought opening up, even just for six hours, could be a start to ramping back up.

"Having been closed for so long is tough but we've been using the kitchen the whole time for catering so food-wise, it is not a big deal," says Weber.

Suns fans realize their struggle, and efforts. "They're creating more outdoor dining spaces, being smart with how many people they are bringing in," said one fan.

They wanted to support local by enjoying food and drinks. "We hope that they are still around when this is all over," said another Suns fan.

The owner of Crown Public House says he looks forward to game nights because it makes up for the many slow days. It also helps since most places are still only operating at half capacity.

"Even with limited fans inside the stadium, it's gigantic for us. You know 10%, I think tonight they have 3000 I think, but that compared to zero is a really, really huge step in the right direction, says Don Philippi, owner, Crown Public House.