ECHL All-Star Classic starts busy week in Downtown Norfolk

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Posted at 1:38 PM, Jan 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 04:40:47-05

NORFOLK, Va. - During a typically slower time of year, the next week promises a boost in business for the shops and restaurants in Downtown Norfolk.

Sunday started the events surrounding Monday's ECHL All-Star Classic at Norfolk Scope arena. Hockey fans arrived at the Waterside District early for Fan Fest and a chance to see the Stanley Cup in an exhibit from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin knows what kind of opportunity events like this can bring to a city. He says Norfolk does the same for the league.

"I kind of fell in love with the city and the layout," Crelin told News 3 while setting up for Fan Fest on Sunday morning. "For our guests traveling in who may have not been here before, you got the water views, you got the battleships. Walking up and down the streets here, lots of restaurants. They were all packed last night."

One restaurant that's looking forward to the week is Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub and Restaurant on Granby Street.

General manager Robert Wallace says foot traffic usually slows in the winter, though Norfolk Admirals fans are known to pack the place before and after games. The hope is the All-Star Classic will bring new faces to Grace O'Malley's.

It's a good time too. Downtown Norfolk Restaurant Week kicked off on Sunday and runs through January 23, offering deals on multi-course menus at over 20 restaurants.

Wallace says he's hoping more people coming in will help soften the impact of inflated food costs.

"(We) try not to bump up the prices too much. We’re just shopping around and getting the best value and the best quality we can," he told News 3.

Downtown Norfolk joins Newport News, Virginia Beach and Portsmouth in hosting restaurant weeks this month. Click HERE for more information.