Breaking News
More () »

Downtown restaurants booking up ahead of National Championship

Some of Indy's most popular restaurants are already booked ahead of another busy sports weekend in the Circle City.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's a big sign that Indianapolis is about to host college football's biggest game. 

Championship Way went up Wednesday outside Lucas Oil Stadium. 13News found other signs that Indy is ready to host 100,000 visitors who are expected to spend a lot of money.

The Circle City is one step closer to the party. 

"This is one of our biggest statement pieces of the weekend. It's the grand entry to Monument Circle," said Ryan Allen Hall, director of public events for the College Football Playoff.

At 12 feet tall and weighing 15,000 pounds, workers installed the 2022 numerals Wednesday. 

"It just represents all the excitement the game brings to Indianapolis," said Hall. "The numbers made their first appearance in 2016 in Arizona, and they've been a highlight ever since."

Indy is transforming to welcome 100,000 visitors ahead of the College Football National Championship.

Credit: WTHR
Numerals standing 12 feet high celebrating the College Football Playoff were installed on Monument Circle Wednesday.

The South Bend Chocolate Company anticipates a sweet profit from its front row seat to the free concerts on Monument Circle. 

"We know there's going to be a lot of people who are going to want hot chocolate. So we're prepping for the apocalypse right here," said South Bend Chocolate Company employee Jonathan Roberts. 

Sales are expected to double or even triple.

"I've heard some people say it's going to be better than Black Friday, so that's what we're comparing it to. That's the bar," Roberts said.

RELATED: Your ultimate guide to Indianapolis during College Football Playoff National Championship festivities

With downtown hotels sold out, 13News checked the status of local restaurants. 

"Everybody's excited to come in and eat and taste a little bit from Brazil here in Indy," said Roni Daltro, restaurant manager at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse.

Because of staffing issues, reservations have been required at Fogo de Chao.

"For weekend days, we try to use everybody on weekends," Daltro said.

It's all hands on deck. The restaurant is now accepting walk-ins to meet demand this weekend. However, even with a reservation, reserve some time because the manager said customers still may have a 30- to 45-minute wait and it's an hour for walk-ins.

RELATED: Make big bucks renting your house during the championship game

As for Indy's famous St. Elmo Steak House, forget about it. The restaurant is slammed and hardly had time to talk to 13News on Wednesday. Harry & Izzy's only has a few lunch openings.

"This is for everyone who's not a football fan. The game is special, but we want to get to everyone who can't get inside Lucas Oil Stadium. We do concerts, fan events. We really want to bring the game to the whole region. That's what we're doing today," Hall said. 

The best bet to get into restaurants at the last minute is to do a search on OpenTable for any possible cancellations.

Before You Leave, Check This Out