Hundreds celebrate Valentine's Day in downtown South Bend

Several local restaurants say the Valentine's Day rush brought in hundreds of customers -- many of them new.

Cafe Navarre and Trio's in downtown South Bend say their reservations for the night filled up so quickly, many people couldn't get in.

But, that's a good problem to have.

"It's one of those half a dozen holidays a year where everyone's on duty," said Cafe Navarre Proprietor Kurt Janowsky.

Janowsky says nearly 400 people cuddled up during dinner at the restaurant Thursday night.

Winter months can be painfully slow in the restaurant business, but he says Valentine's Day and promotions like Restaurant Week have given downtown eateries a boost.

"It's a beautiful start to the year," he said. "It's exciting to see the activity downtown."

Valentine's Day often brings diners downtown who haven't tried many of the local spots.

And, many of them end up coming back.

"I think probably 60 to 70 percent tonight are new, I don't recognize them," said Trio's Owner Herb Wilson. "We are happy they're here."

Wilson says Trio's had just shy of 200 diners Thursday, which is a good night for them.

The restaurant and jazz club featured a special menu for the holiday, as well as live music.

Wilson says he's happy to see so many people choosing local restaurants to celebrate.

"We downtown are primarily independent restaurateurs, not that we have anything against the corporate chains. But, we like to think the experiences here at our restaurants are more intimate," he said.


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