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Restaurant partners return to T-Mobile Arena

As more fans return to T-Mobile Arena to cheer on the Vegas Golden Knights, more of the venue’s dining options have returned to serve them. Although fan attendance is still capped at 50 percent of capacity, an arena spokeswoman says that over 90 percent of the venue’s food and beverage partners have reopened. And fans are gobbling up their offerings.

“Graffiti Bao sold out Friday night,” says chef Marc Marrone, who reopened his two Pina Nachos stands and Graffiti Bao stand on Friday. “We’d thought 50 percent (fan capacity), first game back, we’ll produce a little less than a normal game. And then we sold out before the second period. So it was like ‘OK, definitely gotta jump on that one.’ And by Saturday we were up to almost regular game sales numbers, which is great.”

Freed’s Bakery’s Max Jacobson-Fried reports similar business at the bakery’s cart on the arena’s Main Concourse, which also reopened Friday.

“People are back to enjoying themselves and not scared to spend money and just have a good time,” Jacobson-Fried says. “Sales are up. And with the 50 percent capacity, the numbers we’re doing are impressive.”

Mimmo Ferraro has been providing Pizza Forte pies for the arena’s in-house food vendors since the stadium resumed seating fans in March. But last Wednesday was the first time he reopened one of the company’s two dedicated pizza spots. And he says this weekend marked a major turning point in the mood among fans.

“It felt like a playoff game, even with only 50 percent capacity,” Ferraro says. “The energy, the excitement, the people that just are happy to be out — the mood was just incredible. People are loud and excited and really happy to be there, and the energy shows.”

The expanded food and beverage service comes as fans can now move freely throughout the building during games. As a result, you can access your favorite dining options, regardless of your seats.

Marrone says it didn’t take long for Graffiti Bao’s regulars to rediscover them. While Friday night’s customers included a lot of new faces, that changed on Saturday, after he used social media to spread the word.

“Saturday was more of our regulars,” he says. “Once I posted that we were in there, people went out of the way to come over and say ‘Oh, I’m so excited that you’re here!’ ”

“It’s a little harder to make out the familiar faces with masks on,” Jacobson-Fried jokes. “But people are ecstatic to be there. It’s the same vibe (as before the shutdown), if not more so. And it’s only at 50 percent (capacity). So I cannot imagine what it’s going to be like when they go back up to 100, and everybody gets to be back there.”

In addition to Graffiti Bao, Pina Nachos, Forte Pizza and Freed’s Bakery, fans attending a Golden Knights game can now enjoy the offerings of partners such as Shake Shack, Rollin’ Smoke Barbecue, Capriotti’s and Cool Intentions, as well as in-house dining options.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.

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