A break in the heat sends diners outside

    7:26 PM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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    (Photo: Thinkstock Photos)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - It feels more like fall outside than summer, and it's luring people outdoors all across central Arkansas. For businesses that rely on good weather, it couldn't have come at a better time.

    Many people who've lived in the area their whole lives have said they can't remember an August like this. It seems no one is letting these cool August days go to waste. That mentality was keeping the patio at Dugan's pub busier than normal Thursday night.

    "To be mid 70s on the 15th of August is amazing," said Dugan's patron Peggy Graham. "This is like California weather without all of the inconveniences of California."

    Graham had planned to grab a bite to eat with friends Thursday, and they all agreed outside dining was the only option.

    "The outside was packed today, there was a waiting list to get outside for lunch today," she added.

    Dugan's pub owner, Don Dugan said such a thing is a rarity during the hot summer months. Usually, this time of year, he said business declines, but not this summer.

    "We do a great business on the patio in the spring months and in the fall months. In the summer, it usually just dies off, but this year it's been phenomenal," he reflected.

    Blue skies, dry air and temps in the upper 70s is what lured Randal Wilson to the pub. He works next door, and said the milder weather has been good for their business as well.

    "In the past two days we've seen an increase of business. Probably double what we normally do. Yeah, everyone is coming out and enjoying it," he said.

    For Dugan, the fall-like weather is a dream for a restaurant owner with a patio.

    "People want to sit outside and eat; they want to dine al fresco. It's fantastic, we have a large patio. It's very helpful for us," he concluded. "Usually when it's really hot, we just don't see anybody on the patio. Last week it was so hot and so humid you could reach up just squeeze the moisture out of the air and this week it's perfect."

    Dugan's expects the crowds to continue through the weekend and slack off once school starts Monday.

    Servers said they also love the good weather because patrons seem to tip better when the weather is nice.

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