Restaurants prepare for increased business due to Presidential V - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Restaurants prepare for increased business due to Presidential Visit

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- Restaurants in downtown Murphysboro are preparing for increased business during President Trump's visit to Southern Illinois Airport Saturday. One of those restaurants is Martel's Pizza on the corner of 7th and Walnut streets.

Owner Dillon Rushing says it's usually busy on the weekends, "We have delivery drivers in and out the door. We have a lot of people coming through the door, just picking up their food." 

But he's expecting business to double with Trump's visit, which is taking place just five miles away, "For a small business here in town, it's something that I think we're all pleased to have the opportunity to have the President come." 

Rushing is preparing for a rush before Trump's rally, currently set to begin at 4:30 p.m. Employees will be baking additional pizzas for the lunch special, $2 for a slice of pizza, easy grab-and-go food. 

He's also planning for a pick-up in business after the rally, scheduling four servers instead of the usual two, "We’re expecting the dining room to be fairly full." 

Meanwhile, co-owner of 17th Street in Murphysboro, Amy Mills, is trying to brace the restaurant for Trump's visit while away in Italy. She says crews treat every customer, from near and far, as important so they're always prepared to show out of town visitors hospitality. 

"We are always on alert, but now we are one extra alert," Mills explains. "I've been texting with all of our managers and just making sure that we are staffed appropriately, and that we are cooking a little bit more food." 

However she does say that it's a balancing act, "The danger of all of this is that it could also not go your way. I think we saw that with the eclipse. We were very, very busy but I think some people cooked too much and they had food leftover." 

Mills and Rushing say they welcome customers from both sides of the aisles. Both owners also plan on keeping the doors to their restaurants open Saturday night as long as guests keep coming in.

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