The NFL season is underway. That is sparking optimism for the state’s bar and restaurant owners after last season was marked by restrictions and closures.

“I think this weekend is going to be busy. Maybe they stayed in last year maybe went out a little bit or whatnot, but I think they’re going to be ready to go to a bar or restaurant to watch a game.”

Kent Letnes operates Grizzley’s Wood-Fired Grill and Northern Tap House locations in the  Twin Cities Metro and has family ties to restaurants throughout greater Minnesota. He says they have seen strong demand from customers eager to get back in to restaurants.

“We’ve seen a big influx this summer of people out and about and people eating in restaurants. It has been a really busy summer.”

Letnes says that demand is leading to a strong bounce back for the industry that will be helped with the expected influx of football crowds.