As attention turns to Gillette Stadium to witness the highly anticipated return of legendary former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, local businesses prepare for a booming business.
Fans will flock to Foxborough by the tens of thousands this weekend, where they will fill hotels, bars and restaurants to the brim.
“We’re talking about a Super Bowl-level game for ourselves,” said Michelle Heckbert, manager of Patriot Place’s Six String Grill & Stage restaurant.
Like other establishments in the area, particularly at Gillette’s shopping and dining complex next door, Six String expects sales to surge this weekend as fans crowd for space during the game and celebrate or mourn later.
The bustling restaurant and venue is ready to cram up to 1,300 hungry fans into its main dining room on Sunday (though about 700 will have to be forced to stand).
“We hope there are quite a few people,” said Heckbert.
For many businesses, the Brady Boost is badly needed after a year hampered by a pandemic. Some, like Skipjack’s, an upscale seafood restaurant, have been kept afloat by a loyal contingent of customers due to ever-changing restrictions on indoor dining. But the crowd’s liberal spending this weekend will be a welcome addition.
“We survived the worst,” said Skipjack’s manager Justin Hunter. “But this weekend it’s definitely a very nice boost. If they’re willing to spend that much on tickets, they won’t blink their eyes when they sit down and spend money here. “
In the midst of the action on Sunday, Hunter said he expected every table to be occupied and the crowd at the bar to go three people down. Friday and Saturday will likely bring full houses too, he said.
It’s not just the restaurants. A search for rooms for Sunday evening in most hotels in the area remains empty. A clerk at the front desk at the Comfort Inn in Foxborough, four miles from Gillette Stadium, let out a disgruntled sigh when asked about availability on Sunday night.
“Nothing,” he said.
There is some space left at the Hilton Garden Inn at Patriot Place, but an overnight stay there costs about $ 2,500.
The downside of the expected hustle and bustle this weekend? The City of Foxborough does not have an indoor mask mandate and there is no vaccine or negative test requirement for entry to Gillette Stadium. However, fans are encouraged to wear face covering if they are not fully vaccinated.