Baltimore bars and restaurants prepare for big crowds for AFC Championship game

Steve’s Lunch owner John Nichols and Tacitus Calahan are preparing for fans coming to watch the game this Sunday. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The Raven Crush, a specialty drink served at the Watershed in Baltimore, is made of grape juice, vodka, triple sec, Sprite and a homemade sour mix. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The Baltimore Ravens will face the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday at the AFC Championship game. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

When the Baltimore Ravens take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship on Sunday, the games are expected to really boost the bottom lines of restaurants and bars in Charm City.

“It’s going to be huge,” said Jessica Fly, manager of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, only a few blocks away from M&T Bank Stadium.

Baltimore bars and restaurants prepare for big crowds for AFC Championship game
Fly said compared to a typical game day, they plan to triple their business Sunday, with more than a thousand people stopping by before and after the game or choosing to watch the game at one of its several bars and outside “Purple Zone” event spaces.

She said the business has doubled down on its purchasing of supplies and staffing for the weekend.

“We’re really just preparing for a mass influx of business,” Fly said.

This will be the first AFC Championship game in Baltimore since 1971, and for those unable to get tickets to the game, many are expected to try and get close to where the action is happening.

Nearby at the Cross Street Market, dozens of businesses expect to see thousands of fans flood the halls.

“It’s great for Baltimore’s economy when the Ravens and Orioles do well,” said Tacitus Calahan with Steve’s Lunch restaurant.

He said he expects the restaurant to double its revenue Sunday, compared to a typical game day.

“It’s a big deal for us,” he said.

He said a game day favorite is their bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, so they are stocking up on what they need to make hundreds of those.

Also at Cross Street Market, the bar and restaurant Watershed is receiving lots of deliveries as they stock up for Sunday.

“We are putting anything anywhere. We’re putting kegs where kegs usually don’t go,” said Watershed’s Alan “Cowboy Al” Schmidt. “It’s just great for the city of Baltimore, for the local bars, businesses and restaurants.”

The restaurant is also pulling staff from other restaurants owned by its parent company to be ready for the crowds.

He said a popular drink they’ll be ready to serve up is their signature Ravens Crushes, a team themed crushed ice drink made of grape juice, vodka, triple sec, Sprite and a homemade sour mix.

“We’re just so excited. It’s going to be awesome,” Schmidt said.

He believes the team’s post season excitement has been a big boost for the city that will carry Baltimore through the winter.

Calahan said business aside, as a fan of the team, this is an exciting time.

“We’re proud of our Ravens. We love our guys, and we love seeing them do well,” Calahan said.

Fly agreed and made a prediction ahead of the game.

“The Ravens are going to win. Taylor Swift is going to go home sad,” she joked.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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