Restaurants near Riviera Theatre say business continues to take a hit with venue closed


NORTH TONAWANDA N.Y (WIVB) – It’s been six months since New York state canceled concerts, because of the pandemic. It’s not just music venues feeling the squeeze.

There are normally three or four events a week at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, but that hasn’t been the case since March. A few restaurants News 4 talked to say although business has been steady this summer, it’s nowhere near what they’re used to.

“We have a lot of folks that come in from out of town to come see the shows so it’s a lot of exposure that we wouldn’t normally get,” said Prosper Brewing co-owner Tim Berg. “We’re missing the people that would stop in before or after a show.”

Businesses like Prosper Brewing and Dwyer’s Irish Pub say not having the venue open is hurting business.

“Sure there are more folks that come in to eat but on the whole I think, it depends on the day of the week, but it does seem to have impacted us,” Berg said.

“It draws so many people to this area that normally may not come and with it being closed the impact is devastating,” said Greg Stenis who owns Dwyer’s Irish Pub.

The affect on nearby businesses is one of the reasons the Riviera Theatre is putting pressure on Governor Andrew Cuomo to open up concert venues, playhouses and movie theaters.

“25 percent of the Riviera is almost 300 people, that’s people coming into this Webster street area using the bars and restaurants albeit at limited capacity but it’s a life line for them as well,” said Riviera Theatre Executive Director David Fillenwarth during a press conference Thursday. “We need to get business going again.”

“It’s a cultural draw and a link by which all of the rest of the restaurants and retail outfits down here work,” State Senator Rob Ortt said.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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