If you don't have a dinner reservation for Valentine's Day, chances are you'll have a tough time finding one. Many restaurants in the Indianapolis area are booked solid, and owners said it's just the latest example of an encouraging start to 2012.
Mama Carolla's Italian restaurant in Broad Ripple wasn't open Monday, but that doesn't mean it was quiet. General Manager Justin Leuer spent the day answering call after call, even though his reservation book is already filled.
"They're going to be either early or late," Leuer said, referring to his available tables for Valentine's Day dinner. "You can hear the desperation in their voice sometimes, knowing that they probably called six or seven other restaurants too and everybody is booked."
"You try to work them in if you can, but if not, 'Sorry,'" said Phillip Starks, Service Manager for Weber Grill Restaurant.
The Weber Grill and others downtown have been consistently busy throughout the month. Though Valentine's Day is always packed, the restaurant also attracted early love birds during the weekend and of course the Super Bowl helped too.
"We set a sales record," Starks said. "We did more than any store in the company ever has, so it's been very good, very, very good."
Starks said downtown events and conventions are key to sustaining their business. Over at Harry & Izzy's, though, one operating partner said he believes the overall economy is also making a positive turn with more locals showing up than in the last couple years.
"And they're spending money in droves," said Jeff Smith, Operating Partner of Harry & Izzy's. "Everybody is just happy to get out."
The Super Bowl and other events have had less of a ripple effect in Broad Ripple, but Leuer said he's also optimistic the business will last.
"You know, instead of going out to eat once a month, they're going out maybe a couple times a month, so it seems like there's a steady flow of people out there and they're willing to spend a little bit of their money," Leuer said. "I think it's helped a lot of people out."
If you're still looking for a table on Valentine's Day, Smith suggests walking in to downtown restaurants. He saidmost places, such as Harry & Izzy's, keep tables open and fewer people tend to come downtown without a reservation on Valentine's Day.
If you are looking to get into a restaurant that is booked solid outside of the downtown area, call throughout the day because there are always cancellations.