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Lawmakers returning to the capital city for 2021 session means more business for local restaurants

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) - Kansas' capital city will be much busier on Monday, as lawmakers return for the 2021 Kansas Legislative Session. This is music to the ears of restaurants near the Kansas State Capitol building, ringing the promise of more customers after a difficult year.

In the heart of the NOTO Arts District is Norsemen Brewing Company. With the business being minutes away from the Capitol, the owner said he sees an uptick in business during session of around 10 to 20%.

"With them being back in session it... helps us feel like that's a step forward, a step in the right direction of getting back to a type of normal," owner Jared Rudy said.

The Pennant in downtown Topeka also sees a large bump, specifically in their lunch hour when lawmakers go on break, according to Bar Manager Alexandra Seelbach.

"With people still going home, working from home, we have been missing some of our lunch service sales," Seelbach said. "It really would be great to see that boost from the state legislature, see them support local here downtown in the place that they work."

The Pennant are preparing, by staffing up and making more food.

"And just mental preparation, like 'Oh, today's going to be a busy one, let's get ready for it,'" Seelbach said.

New restaurants are also preparing for their first session, such as Doughboyz Pizzeria, which opened last year.

"Anytime more people come to town obviously is a big advantage for the restaurants," said Owner Trevor Burdett. "We're close enough to downtown that hopefully, we'll get people across the river."

Burdett is planning to try and attract visitor's attention with social media posts and some cheesy-good deals, he said.

"We do pizza by the slice for lunch, which is quick and easy," Burdett said. "We do a lot of big events, catering and that forth, just because we're in pizza, it's easy to deliver."

Just having legislators walk through their doors is the support these restaurants say is important.

"The least they could do is help us out keeping our businesses afloat, especially at a year like what we've had," Seelbach said.

A few of these restaurant staff said they are planning some fun events for the upcoming months to hopefully keep the support they're hoping for continuing.

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