Houston – along with its smaller subsets in our local area – is a melting pot of various cultures and people. And while it is a part of daily life, it is also no more evident than during worldwide sporting events such as the World Cup, with our neighbors flocking to watch their national team. And that made restaurant establishments World Cup headquarters.
Even though the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the enthusiasm in local neighborhoods has brought out the soccer fan in all of us, with locals flocking to neighborhood spots such as King’s BierHaus, McIntyre’s, and more in droves since it began June 14.
“I’d say we have 20-30 percent more coming in [these last few weeks] compared to normal business. For a typical weekday, I’d say we normally serve 200 or so. These last few weeks we’ve been looking at anywhere from about 250-300 daily,” King’s BierHaus General Manager Ryan Posato said.
BierHaus, according to Creative Director Adam Lamprecht-Morphew, has been positioning themselves as the World Cup headquarters through various promotions, such as created themed menus – with special food and drink promotions – along with showing and featuring games as often as possible and bringing out sponsors. Big screens installed around the patio and projectors put in around the restaurant, so any customer can watch to their heart’s content.
“We’ve just been focusing on trying to go all in on catering for it, or not do it at all. We’re still trying it out, because we really haven’t really had sports games much before,” he said.
“We tried here and there during the Astros’ run, and through there I feel like we had a lot of people come in and were able to bring a lot of the community in and show that off.”
Just down the road at McIntyre’s, though the World Cup has not spurred any special promotions, owner and founder Chase McIntyre has opened earlier than his normal 2 p.m. to accommodate the early-morning start times and their fans.
“It’s nice to get a different clientele in here that’s coming in, and the World Cup definitely brings out more people – especially early in the day, and it’s definitely good for us to be able to get that earlier business,” he said. “It’s fun to see all the different people from all over the world, how they’re attached to their different teams, and how they all come together – everybody’s together as one during the World Cup, right in our own backyard.”
At King’s Bierhaus, German matches were expected to be the main draw, which they were, according to Lamprceht-Morpheu. But even in the aftermath of the Germans’ group stage exit, he said crowds have not subsided.
“We’d expect at least half of our business to be for that [since we’re a German restaurant], but people were still coming out,” he said. “We’re looking forward to be able to feature future sports events in this same manner.”
“The atmosphere has just been amazing here,” Posato added. “We’ve seen fan support for all teams in various degrees.”