With a variety of events going on and nearly no COVID-19 restrictions in place, Downtown Pittsburgh is starting to look like it did pre-pandemic.By Jessica Guay

PITTSBURH (KDKA) — People flocked to downtown Pittsburgh for several events this weekend, which helped bars and restaurants bring in more customers.

Downtown Pittsburgh is coming back to life and business is booming for bars and restaurants. This was also the first weekend since most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted for businesses.

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“I could not be more excited. I had a line of people out the door today when I opened that wanted tacos and margaritas,” said Tyler Mossman, general manager at täkō.

“We are so busy. First time in 15 months, we are busy, and we are so happy to see all our customers, new ones and old ones,” said Martina Hanoglu, the owner of Alihan’s Mediterranean Cuisine.

Downtown streets looked almost like pre-pandemic times this weekend with lots of people walking around.

There were Pittsburgh Pride events and the 10-day Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival started Friday. The festival is spread out across the Cultural District, Point State Park and the section of Fort Duquesne Boulevard that is closed for five months for events.

“It’s a weird feeling because downtown was basically a ghost town for a long, long time and now when you see all these people it feels like old times are back, it’s great,” Hanoglu said.

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“Now we don’t stop, the door just keeps opening and people keep floating in,” Hanoglu said.

Most COVID-19 restrictions in Pennsylvania were taken off the menu a week ago. Restaurants returned to 100 percent capacity, and they don’t have to space out tables.

“It’s been a rough road but it’s a really good feeling to see täkō be the restaurant that it was,” Mossman said.

The busy weekend is cooking up excitement, but restaurants aren’t completely back to normal yet. Many still need employees.

“We need one more cook and a couple more servers,” Hanoglu said.

“We are 100% hiring. Come on down, fill out an application, give us a resume, we’ve got plenty of work for you,” Mossman said.

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Hanaghlu said restaurants are also dealing with an increase in food prices like steak and vegetables.