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RVA Restaurants Braced for Underwhelming Crowds...So Far

This week, Richmond is hosting the road cycling world championship. The city predicted almost half a million spectators for the nine day event, so local restaurants have been gearing up for business. But, the crowds have been slow to appear.

The seats outside Lift Cafe, right along the race route in downtown Richmond, aren’t filled with the regular crowd of VCU students and professionals, but instead cyclists from Bermuda, Canada, Germany...

Restaurants in Richmond are getting new customers, but at the expense of their regulars. While it’s averaging out to steady business, it’s not the expected slam.

“We thought there’d be a good bit more and there was… marginally more.”

Jay Bayer is an owner of Saison. The restaurant offered extended hours at the beginning of the week, but wasn’t getting the business it needed to continue.

“So we just kind of cut back to more business as usual, assuming that we can handle the volume.”

But earlier this week, down the street at Pasture, a restaurant blocks from the finish line, almost all tables were full. Owner Jason Alley predicts it’s the beginning of an upswing.

“I think just the city in general is feeling a lot busier as of today and it’s dynamite, so hopefully it keeps picking up.” 

With most of the popular races still to come, and reservations for Saturday almost full, that things start picking up, doesn’t seem such a bad bet.

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