Businesses near Petco Park adjust to smaller crowd sizes

Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 20:18:09-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Erik Tesmer was exhausted Friday morning, and he wouldn't have it any other way.

His East Village restaurant, Basic Pizza, made $15,000 in sales on Padres opening day, the best in recent memory.

“Everything was full,” Tesmer said. “We even got busier earlier than we anticipated.”

Tesmer said there was a steady stream of fans before, during and after the game.

Businesses around the ballpark have been hit particularly hard amid the pandemic. They pay high rents and have seen a loss of foot traffic due to the padres not having fans in 2020, as well as the mass cancellations of conventions. So the 2021 Padres season opener, with about 10,000 fans, brought renewed hope.

Still, other businesses around the ballpark had more segmented waves.

At Tajima Ramen, about five blocks from the ball park, Manager Mitzi Lacap said the rush came after the Padres beat the Diamondbacks, with a line out the door.

“I think this was the first time I felt the buzz and the energy and the vibe around San Diego and how excited everyone is,” she said, noting the past year has included openings, closings, adding staff and reducing staff.

Thursday’s opener also may have impacted traffic at businesses. The game started at 1 and ended around 4:30, not translating to as many dinner guests at Union Kitchen & Tap on 5th Avenue.

Restaurant Manager Kelsie Day said she expects that to change with night games, including Friday’s, which starts at 7:10 p.m.

“Once the sun's going down, it's a little cooler, they want to go out, they want to be outside, I think it'll definitely help for the Gaslamp, for us particularly,” Day said.

The have six more games in the homestead, concluding Wednesday against the Giants.