LIMA — “You kissed our booboos, rocked us to sleep, and never stopped believing in us. Moms are amazing.”
That special message was displayed at Bella’s Italian Grill in Celina today as the restaurant and many others in the area prepared for one of the busiest dining out days in the country. Families didn’t disappoint as they turned out in droves to give Mom a special day on Mother’s Day Sunday.
“It is a special day where you can take Mom out and let her relax a little,” said Julie Cole, owner of Bella’s. “Mothers have a lot on their shoulders. We give them a special day and pamper them a little and give them the extra attention they deserve.”
The special attention turned out a big crowd at Bella’s, as more than 500 people visited the restaurant. Bella’s had four specials for Mother’s Day, including a lasagna-fettuccine combo, petite beef and reef, a bay blue salad or a bottomless bowl of spaghetti. Bella’s also offered Mama Mosas, a special drink, or a fine glass of wine.
Cole said Mother’s Day rates as one of their three busiest days of the year, right up with New Year’s Eve or special events held at Grand Lake.
The National Restaurant Association reports that about 38 percent of Americans ate out at one of the 870,000 restaurants in the United States on Sunday. Annually, Americans spend about $3 billion eating on the special day. As far as family nights out, the 38 percent rates second only to birthdays at 55 percent.
Nick Lepley, front house manager at Texas Roadhouse, verified those national numbers.
“If it is not our busiest day, it is real close with Valentine’s Day,” Lepley said.
Lepley said Texas Roadhouse opened up a half-hour early knowing it would be busy. They had about 2,200 people come out to eat, with about 80 percent of those being families taking mother out for dinner. Lepley said that is about double of what they would do on a typical Sunday.
Lepley said it is a busy day for workers, as not a whole lot of extra staff is added.
“We have a couple extra hosts and a couple of extra bodies in the kitchen,” he said, “but mostly it is just like any other day.”
Milano’s Cafe owner Frank Guagenti said the day was extra busy because many families were having “dual” celebrations. Along with it being Mother’s Day, Ohio Northern University had its graduation ceremony and many families were celebrating both events.
“It was a very good day for us,” Guagenti said. “We had a little down time from 3 to 4:30 p.m., but other than that we had a steady flow of customers.”
Guagenti said it is one of the top 10 days at the restaurant every year. About 500 people visited the restaurant Sunday.
Guagenti said that bad weather during the dinner hour did not prevent patrons from coming out.
“Actually I think it helped us a little,” he said. “Usually Dad will just fire up the grill.”
Golden Corral manager Mohammad said it is one of the restaurants top three busiest days of the year. He said the restaurant started getting busy and it never really slowed down.
“Towards the end of the night, it slowed down a little with the rain,” Mohammad said. “Still, we had a great turnout.”
Mothers were given a discount coupon for their next visit at the Golden Corral and treated to a special menu.