Local restaurants benefit from stimulus checks

Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 18:44:12-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — The federal government started releasing stimulus checks this week and it's a welcome sight for many, especially those in the restaurant business.

Some Omaha residents are taking advantage of the extra funds by eating out locally.

While you can't currently eat inside Omaha restaurants, phone lines are still busy.

"Their phones are ringing off the hooks all of their regulars are coming back," Ika Ramen Benson General Manager Alex Mullen said. "You know they feel more secure with this extra money and they want to use it in the community and it's been really good."

Mullen, who's the general manager of Ika Ramen at its Benson location says even more people are placing to-go orders thanks to the recent stimulus checks.

"You know there's lot's of these stimulus checks coming out, but no one was really saying a whole about, hey we got it, but on Tuesday of this week almost instantaneously our business doubled," he said.

Both Ika Ramen locations have seen an uptick in customers, as have other restaurants in town.

"It was very obvious that that was the case because it wasn't just Tuesday," Mullen said. "It was Wednesday, it was Thursday, it was Friday it was yesterday ... and I'm a part of a Facebook group of industry folks and they're posting all the same thing, seeing the same pattern."

Mikey Philbin is a chef at JoJo's Diner in Benson.

While he says business has picked up, seeing more of his regulars is the real bonus.

"Just having people in the restaurant, you know we have this beautiful open kitchen here and there's no one to sit here and watch us cook, so just interacting with the guests again," Philbin said.

Mullen says he knows the checks are just a short-term solution, but their impact is long-term.

"To see that people are using this money in a way that is not just benefiting themselves, but it's also injecting back into the community and not just the bare essentials," he said.

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