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'One big, happy family': Downtown Cleveland businesses welcome crowds for St. Patrick's Day festivities

'It's good for the business, it's good for the city, it's just good to get a bunch of people back downtown,' Flannery's Pub GM Sean O'Donnell said.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — It's a welcome sight for Downtown Cleveland businesses after a few quiet years celebrating one of the city's favorite holidays.

"I thought it was going to kind of come back to normal this year and boy it sure has," Sean O'Donnell, general manager at Flannery's Pub, said.

The St. Patrick's Day festivities were back in full swing, bringing big crowds back to downtown.

"It's good for the business, it's good for the city, it's just good to get a bunch of people back downtown," O'Donnell told 3News.

All the foot traffic brought a nice boost for local restaurants, like Zanzibar Soul Fusion on Prospect Avenue.

"Look at us; we're all downtown," Zanzibar Soul Fusion team leader James Webb said. "We're in the heart of the city."

Following a rough hit to the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation has also been driving prices up.

"Through the pandemic, we capitalized on our 'to goes,' so we never lost a beat on anything," Zanzibar GM Susan Singleton explained. "My biggest problem was staffing. Nobody wanted to work."

According to the National Restaurant Association, 92% of operators say the cost of food is a significant issue for their restaurants. However, local spots like Zanzibar say their loyal customers have helped them get through.

"Nighttime is the real lifetime here," Webb said. "We're one big, happy family, but overall, its good."

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