Arlington Businesses Super-Size for the Super Bowl

Football's biggest game isn't playtime for the city of Arlington.

City officials expect some 100,000 people to attend the Super Bowl and also expect as many as 300,000 people in the city for pre- and post-game activities.

"It's about our tourism, business," said Trey Yelverton, deputy city manager. "It's about our economic development. It's about community pride."

Businesses near Cowboys Stadium are hoping to capitalize on the super-size crowds. Some are looking beyond their building's four walls and are creating patios in their parking lots, in front of their buildings or adjacent to their businesses.

"They are preparing for larger crowds than their building will allow them to occupy, " Yelverton said. "We've got a handful of businesses that do want to get some outdoor festival permits so they can expand their footprint for that day, that weekend."

Tailgate Tavern is a relatively hidden sports bar but has a perfect view and is within walking distance of the stadium. The sports bar has been open on game days for close to two years and opened on an everyday basis six weeks ago.

Owner Mario Whitmore plans a major temporary expansion for the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

"We're going to be tenting our whole outside area, all our parking lots," he said.

Whitmore said he will probably be able to accommodate up to 1,000 people. And he is hoping the exposure will double or triple business that week, as well as put his place on the map for locals.

At BoomerJack's in busy Lincoln Square, management originally planned to rent a small space next door to temporarily expand the restaurant/bar. But capacity in the space was only about 250, and management decided it would be too small for the crowds they expected.

"So we've gotten a 60,000-square-foot field out behind us next to the Ross store in the Lincoln Square shopping center, and we're booking talent -- national talent -- and planning, a big, basically, a musical festival for three days," said Randy Brown, BoomerJack's regional director of operations.

He said BoomerJack's expects anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 people to show up to the festival every day.

Along with the festival, BoomerJack's is preparing for the larger crowds by buying more food and alcohol and plans to hire close to 100 more part-time workers.

Business owners say the substantial overhead will be well worth it. Whitmore said he expects the Super Bowl to tremendously expand his business.

But the temporary expansion takes planning and permits. Whitmore said the permit approval process for an outdoor festival requires going through the Public Works Department, the police department, the fire department and the zoning commission.

The only thing that worries city officials and business owners alike is whether the weather will cooperate.

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