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Date Night Business Boost

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Valentine's Day usually brings with it a business boom for local restaurants, playing host to date night for couples celebrating their love.

But this year, many local restaurants are looking to enjoy a double dose of that rush of customers.

This is the first time since 2003 that Valentine's Day has fallen on a Friday, giving lovebirds the chance to celebrate the holiday into the weekend - on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Quad Cities restaurants say they're loving the boost that's bringing to their business' bottom lines.

"We appreciate all the business that we can get," said Toby Christianson, owner of the Woodfire Grill in downtown Davenport.

It was all hands on deck at Woodfire Grill as the first Friday evening reservations began to arrive. That marked the start of a rush expected to last until closing time, with the restaurant fully booked for the night.

"You spend about 48 hours to 72 hours preparing for a dinner service that lasts about five," Christianson said.

And, thanks to the romantic holiday falling on a Friday, local restaurants are looking forward to a second round of the same solid business come Saturday night.

"With any luck we'll get a little spill over into Sunday and possibly Monday as well," Christianson said.

When it comes to enjoying a business bump, Woodfire Grill is certainly not alone.

The chef at Duck City Bistro tells us they've never been this full on a Valentine's Day before, with reservations all the way up through 11:30 p.m.

And, over at the Bix Bistro, they've been booked solid for both Friday and Saturday for a while now.

"Actually, we've had reservations starting clear back in about November," Teresa Bailey, Hotel Blackhawk Food and Beverage Director, said.

Heading into the Valentine's Day evening rush, the restaurant had a ten page waiting list from couples hoping to get in, and more potential customers were continuing to call in.

"With it being on a weekend, of course we're going to see more volume. Actually we had people coming in starting during the lunch hour and they'll be here clear through close," Bailey said.

Bix Bistro is offering a special menu for the occasion, and expanding seating into the mezzanine level to accommodate all the extra guests.

"With Valentine's Day, it's one of the biggest food and beverage industry holidays of the year," Bailey explained.

This weekend's business uptick is a welcome change from what restaurant officials say has been a relatively slow winter for sales because of the weather.

"A lot of people have cabin fever this year. It's been obviously a brutal winter, and a lot of people are trying to get out," Christianson said.

The business boost now is a very sweet Valentine's Day gift for local businesses and employees alike:

"More sales typically translate into more income for them," Christianson said, "And hopefully that will dispel the winter blues."

QC restaurants we talked to say the Valentine's Day holiday traditionally kicks off increasing sales heading into the spring and summer seasons.

Restaurant officials advised early planning if you want to book a prime reservation for Valentine's Day next year. They say Valentine's Day is usually the second busiest holidays of the year for bookings, right behind Mother's Day.

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