It’s been long-standing popular knowledge that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the weekend immediately after, is one of the busiest of the year for restaurants and bars, and it’s nice to know that our local bars and entertainment venues are living up to the expectations.
According to The National Restaurant Association, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest night of the year for restaurants and bars. Their additional research also shows that more than half of all Americans supplement their Thanksgiving feasts with take-out food, and one in ten Americans will just eat out on Thanksgiving Day instead of going to the fuss of preparing food for family members.
In addition to the Forest Park residents who will likely crowd local establishments, local bars and pubs are getting ready for the onslaught of students and visiting relatives in town for the holiday.
Doc Ryan’s, located at 7432 Madison Street, is hosting the band Brother Willis as entertainment. Cathy Shaw, manager of Doc Ryan’s, supports the common knowledge that Thanksgiving Day weekend is always one of the busiest weekends of the year.
Mark Hosty, Forest Park Commissioner and manager of Healy’s Westside at 7321 Madison St., is also gearing up for a heavy weekend, although he counters the “busiest weekend of the year” claim. “It’s the second busiest for us because we’re an Irish pub,” said Hosty. For them, St. Patrick’s Day takes the turkey. Healy’s will be hit doubly hard, as it is both a restaurant and a bar, and Hosty is prepared for that.
“Everybody’s doing so much cooking on Thursday, they don’t want to do any cooking on Wednesday,” said Hosty. The annual crowd is “like clockwork,” said Hosty, who is prepared to see a lot of old familiar faces as students and visiting Oak Parkers meet up in the bar.
In addition to bars and restaurants, movie theaters and bowling alleys also feel the brunt of the crowds who are looking for things to do outside of the house. Melissa Biney, assistant manager of the Lake Theatre in Oak Park, is prepared for the evening to be even more hectic this year than usual.
“It’ll be a little busier with both “Harry Potter” and “Chicken Little,” said Biney. The two family films will also be competing with the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line” and movie-musical “Rent” for the holiday crowd. They will be open on Thanksgiving Day itself by 2:30 p.m. ” just in time to catch the after-dinner crowd.
Circle Bowling Lanes, located at 7244 Circle Avenue in Forest Park, is also gearing up for large crowds, although they don’t get as regular a rush as bars and movie theaters. “Every year is a different situation, with a different crowd, different everything,” said assistant manager Marty Considine. They will be open on Thanksgiving Day as well, although their rush is usually the day before and after.
“Wednesday is usually the busiest day of the whole weekend,” said Considine. But thanks to the ever-varying crowd (and the distaste for exercise after a traditionally heavy meal), there’s no way to tell if Thanksgiving will affect attendance or not.
“Hopefully we’ll be busy,” said Considine.