The last two years have been tough for businesses in East Village. The COVID-19 pandemic combined with fewer fans at Petco Park had many businesses anxiously waiting for the start of this season.
Then the lockout began.
"We were a week away from Opening Day," said Ryan Dhu at the restaurant The Blind Burro. "I did all my ordering, we had a full house of booze, and we had to sit on it."
More days of uncertainty, after businesses had jumped into preparing for business as usual.
"You don't know what to do with that," said Dhu. "You don't know whether you should hire staff or not."
And that's a decision that has to be made far in advance. Game days are a busy time for the East Village, bringing in tens of thousands of fans. That's why restaurants and bars make sure their staffs are ready for the rush.
"We do months of training people for the amount of business we're about to get," said Dhu.
As far as the Padres themselves, Dhu says he's seen a surge of energy because of recent roster additions and breakout stars, including Manny Machado, El Cajon native Joe Musgrove and Fernando Tatis Jr.
"He's good for business," said Dhu. "You see a lot of kids joining in. They all want to be Tatis."
As for the season? Dhu is ready to see where the team goes.
"Man, just give me some playoff baseball," said Dhu. "I want to see some playoffs, then we'll talk World Series."