ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — It was a rough start to the season for the Vikings today, who lost in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals, but for local sports bars and restaurants that had been sidelined last year due to COVID, today was a win.
Bunny's Bar and Grill in St. Louis Park is a staple for Vikings fans. "We're just excited Vikings football is back," said fan, Logan Moe.
The restaurant has been around since 1933 and Sunday fans flocked inside and outdoors in tents to watch the Vikings take on the Cincinnati Bengals for their regular season opener.
"It feels so good to be somewhat back to normal," said Vikings fan, Shai Peterson.
"It feels great," said Moe. "Previously, we went to Bunny's, and feels great to be watching the Vikings among other Vikings fans."
Last year, COVID-19 restrictions forced restaurants to enact restrictions and temporarily close during the height of the NFL season.
"COVID-19 had us all sorts of backwards. We were shut down for up to 6 months or so," said manager Thomas Manley.
While fans are staying optimistic. "My hope is the playoffs," said Moe. "After kind of a bad off-season, I hope we get through the season healthy, no COVID-19 issues," said Moe.
"Win a few more games than usual, hopefully, but once a Vikings fan always a Vikings fan," said Peterson.
Managers - like Manley - are hoping for a productive season inside the restaurant and out on the field.
"The better they do, the better we do," said Manley.
The Vikings play the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday, Sept. 19.