New Year’s bookings almost full | News, Sports, Jobs


Dan Taddei is happy to be back at work on New Years Eve.

The owner of The Allegro restaurant, Altoona, said New Years Eve was the first time in more than 40 years that he hadn’t worked that busy night.

Due to government restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants in Pennsylvania have not been able to serve sit-down dinners on New Years Eve.

“It was boring and frustrating. It was a terrible Christmas time. The only worst was when I was in Vietnam ”, said Taddei.

Restaurants will be busy again this New Years Eve.

New Year’s Eve reservations are up 46% from 2019 figures and 220% from 2020, before COVID-19 vaccines were readily available, according to OpenTable, a restaurant reservation service. founded in 2015.

“We will be busy this year. It’s almost like a return to normal. There will soon be a time when we will no longer be able to take reservations; we are close. People want to get back to normal. It’s been two years since we last had a New Year’s Eve ”, said Taddei. “It’s great to do the same thing that I have been doing for over 40 years. That’s what I do; it’s my life. I love it. It was terrible last year. I love doing this, “ said Taddei.

Frank Finelli, owner of Finelli’s Italian Villa, in Altoona, is also happy to serve his clients.

“This year is a complete turnaround; people want to go out. I may not have enough room for the New Year. As high as the new numbers (COVID-19) are, people always come out “, said Finelli. “I already have a lot of reservations, without a doubt, it’s our biggest night of the year. It will be an unforgettable night.

“New Years Eve is like Black Friday for retailers, you need it, you need it for your income” Finelli added.

Traditions Restaurant in Martinsburg is also expecting a much bigger night than last year.

“It should be pretty good with New Years Eve on a Friday. This is one of our best days. Last year we sold a lot of gift cards and gift baskets. We were grateful to the people who purchased family meals, cards and baskets, for supporting our business. We are happy to be much busier ”, said chief executive Arley Hooder. “The week between Christmas and New Years is always busy for us.

The Altoona Grand Hotel‘s buffet and New Years Eve party, dubbed “Winter wonders,” Will be back.

“We are delighted and looking forward to our traditional New Years party. We want our customers to enjoy great food, drink and entertainment,” said CEO Lindsay Danella. “It was actually very nice to take a vacation without work, but it’s more exciting to see things return to a certain sense of normalcy this year.”

Most agree that 2021 has been a better year than 2020.

Hooder said, “2021 is definitely better than 2020, around the middle of the year people were tired and ready to go out. We have had a phenomenal year this year; we are very blessed.

Taddei said, “We lost most of December last year, our best month of the year. It’s like two months in one, and there was nothing we could do about it. Fortunately, we are still here and kicking.

The Altoona Grand Hotel has had a big comeback in business.

“We have attended a full year of weddings and events and were proud to be part of the special moments with the couples who chose us for the venue” Danella said.

Challenges remain for the restaurant industry, said John Longstreet, president of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“We face three challenges; two of them are new. One is the labor shortage, but it is the case in all businesses, but it has worsened in restaurants. So many people left the industry in Pennsylvania during the shutdown and it was difficult to get them back ”, said Longstreet.

He said the supply chain is a dramatic problem.

“It’s the worst of my 45 years in this business. Much has to do with the labor shortage. We have the food but cannot transform it. There is a dearth of menus and the prices have increased so much ”, said Longstreet.

The third challenge is the omicron variant.

“Because of the omicron, people are more reluctant to release it than they were two months ago. It was about to return to normal, but now there has been a slowdown in the number of people in the restaurant despite pent-up demand ”, said Longstreet.

Restaurants will continue to survive, said PRLA spokesperson Stephanie Otterson.

“It depends on what the individual restaurants are capable of doing. It is a creative and entrepreneurial group which, for a year, has been adapting and doing the same with these challenges ”, said Otterson.

Mirror staff writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.

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