Downtown Guelph businesses embrace warm weather and extended patios for St. Patrick’s Day

Patios in downtown Guelph are prepped for a busy night.

The city is closing sections of MacDonnell and Wyndham streets downtown in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The closure will be in effect from 8 pm to 4 am and allow restaurants to open more seating onto the road.

Weather on Thursday appeared to be cooperating with temperatures hitting high double digits in the afternoon.

However, not every restaurant in the area was convinced they will take advantage. Because the setup may be a lengthy process, they are first waiting to see how many bodies show up downtown.

None the less, all the restaurant staff CTV spoke to were happy to have the option delighted to be open at full capacity.

“It’s gone from zero to ‘oh my gosh’ really really fast,” Wimpy’s Diner employee Michelle Dean said, referencing the flow of customers.

NV Kitchen + Bar Owner, Richard Overland remembers this time two years ago when he was “devastated” to hear the province announce mandated closures.

“It was the day before St. Patrick’s day March 16th [2020] and they said you’re not allowed to open for St. Patrick’s Day,” Overland explained.

“Everybody was ready for one of the busiest days of the year. We were stocked we were ready,” he continued.

“It seems like so long ago now, right? It’s hard to believe it was only two years because it sure felt like five.”

For Roan Morgan, day manager at Pablo’s “after two years of this it’s been pretty fantastic to come back.”

Restaurants are preparing for a potentially busy night, unsure of how many patrons will take advantage.

“I still see remnants of COVID in how people are perceiving crowds and groups of people,” Morgan said. “But it’s nice to finally be taking a step towards normalcy, get our drink on and have a good time.”

It’s not just frontline restaurants who are getting back to normal. Suppliers and local brewers are busy handing out pots of gold, in the form of kegs and swag.

When Fixed Gear sales representative, William Lochner stopped at NV Kitchen + Bar to share some branded green t-shirts he said brewers are seeing “crazy business right now.”

Lochner is beyond happy things are back to normal.

“The kegs are flying, business is booming, things are going really well,” he said.

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