MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The downtown sports stadiums are not the only ones excited about bringing fans back to the stands. Businesses surrounding the stadiums are benefitting in a big way, too.

On Thursday, 10,000 fans return to Target Field for the first time in over a year. On Monday night, Target Center welcomed 3,000 fans back.

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“It was just so emotional, not just for our team here, but for our guests that are regulars,” said Dermot Cowley, the owner of O’Donovan’s Irish Pub, located across the street from the Target Center.

Monday night was the first time they reopened since closing their doors back in March 2020 during the pandemic and civil unrest. During their 13-month hiatus, Cowley stayed busy refurbishing the inside of his pub, as well as expanding the outdoor patio area.

“All the woodwork (is) re-sanded and the bar re-sanded, re-stained, and (we) replaced the hardwood floors,” said Cowley. “We put in this bench seating with the peanut table. That’s probably the best seat in the house because you can sit there and watch everything happening in the pub.”

While Cowley is feeling grateful his business survived the shutdown and he can reopen, his biggest worry is a staff shortage. He’s in dire need for more servers to handle the influx of customers.

“I could hire 12, 13 people tomorrow morning if they’re available,” said Cowley.

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If you’re interested in apply for one of the server openings, you can contact Cowley directly at 612-227-8463.

Over in the North Loop, several breweries and restaurants are excited for 10,000 Twins fans to return to the ballpark, including Graze Provisions + Libations. The multi-vendor restaurant has never experienced a full Twins season yet. They opened in fall of 2019 and missed out on home game profits all 2020. This summer, the owners are expected a surge in sales.

“We probably are expecting from last year to be up maybe 60%,” said Brittney Klass, one of the co-owners of Graze.

To prep for the return of Twins fans, Klass says they’ve made some improvements by bringing in five new vendors, including the grand opening of a new coffee shop and wine bar, The Last Drop.

“It feels amazing to be here at this point, and to know that we can gather and be community again just for good old American baseball,” said Klass.

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Graze also expanded the outdoor seating options, and is offering a valet service during the Twins season to help with parking.

Marielle Mohs