An arena project will bring hockey to Allentown in 2014, but way before the first puck is dropped, restaurants around the arena are already seeing a bump in business.
When the noon hour hits each day, construction workers filter out to fill up for lunch, along with office workers. That is giving restaurants in the area a boost.
"You are really looking for variety. You don't want the same thing every day, and bringing your lunch gets old, so it's really nice having everything here in the neighborhood," said Eric Orange, a construction worker at the site.
Marco's Pizza on Hamilton said, since construction started, it has seen a 10 percent increase in sales, despite the wide variety of venues.
"Buffalo chicken pizza is pretty good. Today, we had regular pizza and we loaded it up with garlic,"said construction worker John VanDyke.
Down the street, at the Burrito Works, general manager Jesse Albertson said they, too, have been seeing a lot of steel-toed boots under the tables.
"We are definitely sweeping up more often in here after the muddy boots, but we are happy to do it," said Albertson.
Restaurants on 7th Street are also seeing a bump in business.
Main Street Manager Peter Lewnes said 7th Street has been working with City Center organizers to lure more construction workers into surrounding restaurants with with a menu project.
"For 7th Street and three blocks around all the arena construction, go to the restaurants, ask them for a lunchtime menu, find out if they deliver or if it's pickup only, and it's been great because we have dropped off all of those menus to the construction workers, and I am sure they have been using them," said Lewnes.
Lewnes said 7th Street is hopeful that once the hockey arena is built, the restaurants will have turned some of the construction workers into regulars who will keep coming back.