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INDIANAPOLIS — Restaurants and bars in Indianapolis are starting to get a feel for the impact that an all-Indy March Madness had on their bottom lines.

Iozzo’s, one of Indy’s oldest Italian restaurants, is one of those restaurants. Owner Katie Harris said they reopened the restaurant in 2009 after the Great Recession. Then a decade later dealing with the pandemic shutdowns was an even tougher situation.

“This year was completely different,” she said to Inside Indiana Business. “It’s how do you operate a restaurant that can’t operate?”

One thing she said she experienced through it all was a sense of togetherness among restaurants in Indianapolis, who she said essentially had to work together in order to stay afloat.

She was able to survive the shutdowns and reopen when restrictions were loosened in Indianapolis, and that March Madness being held entirely in Indiana and Indianapolis was a huge help in recovering from that time period.

“I kind of get a quick figure and of the three weeks that the tournament had been going on, we’re up 25-and-a-half-percent over 2019 sales,” she said.

Harris attributes the increase not just to the March Madness crowd in Indy, but also the fact that because of the pandemic fewer people are likely traveling out of state for spring break or Easter.