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Some bars, restaurants struggle to keep up with Stanley Cup Final crowds due to staffing shortage

Stanley Cup crowds
Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 20:37:06-04

DENVER — Packed downtown streets were a welcomed sight for restaurants and bars during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday.

"It's created an incredible amount of traffic that's come down to this area," said Brandon Hanson, Union Station's director of food and beverage.

Venice Ristorante and Wine Bar saw huge numbers Wednesday, according to owner Alessandro Carollo.

"We did about $20,000. Usually we do $12,000 to $13,000, that's almost double," he said.

Behind the scenes, the night came with some struggle.

"We're scheduling everybody six days. We are pulling a couple servers from the Venice in Greenwood Village," Carollo said.

Carollo's three restaurants have been short staffed for some time now.

"We need servers, bartenders, back of the house people," he said.

Carollo says he hasn't been able to capitalize the way he's used to in a restaurant that's served some big names in its two decades, including many Denver Nuggets, Avs and Broncos players.

"The challenges are like right now, especially during this Avalanche finals, there are a lot of people outside I would like to open for lunch," Carollo said.

Carollo isn't alone. Nearby restaurants, like Jinya Ramin, had their own struggles Wednesday.

Kitchen manager Phillip Reed said the crowds were "shoulder to shoulder."

"The tables [were] full. The bar was full. We didn't have enough service to go outside," Reed said.

In the week leading up to Game 1, more than 200 restaurant positions were advertised on Craigslist.

In a statement to Denver7, Colorado Restaurant Association spokeswoman Denise Mickelsen said in part, "Eight out of 10 operators tell us that they are understaffed, and with the Avs games driving more business to restaurants and bars, the situation is compounded."

Through the years, Carollo's restaurant has become one of the most well-known Italian restaurants in downtown Denver. Despite the restaurant's staffing shortages, Carolla says he is dedicated to providing excellent service to his patrons.