Tim Kavanaugh put up 132 spots Friday under the pavilion and in the parking area at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Bar & Grill in Rock Island.
“I was a bit nervous about filling them, and thinking maybe we would get 60-72 people for the spots under the pavilion,” Kavanaugh said Friday night at about 7 p.m.
He needn’t have worried. Every one of the 132 spots was filled, and people waited respectfully for tables to open.
“It’s been crazy,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s been like this since about 5 p.m. Everybody is glad they can go somewhere.”
Kavanaugh opened at 11 a.m. Friday and business was steady, about half the customers. But by 5 p.m., it exploded, and every table was filled.
Everything for diners is outside, with the only things open inside being the bathrooms.
It seemed that everybody who was anybody was at Kavanaugh’s, including several Rock Island aldermen. Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms showed up for food and drinks.
“I love it,” Thoms said of the crowd. “I love to see people out here enjoying themselves and stimulating the economy.
“There’s a lot of people here, but everybody’s being respectful of each other’s space,” Thoms said as he looked around. "It’s good respectful fun we’re having.”
The bars downtown were busy, with workers wearing masks and people being respectful of each other’s space, he added.
Marc Nesseler was dining with his wife, Kathleen, who picked up the tab for the two and gave a very generous tip to the waiter, Joe Lopez.
“We had a couple of great burgers, and I had my card already to pay and she had a box to go,” Nesseler said. “He brings the meal by and she says, ‘I got this,’ and I said, ‘Oh, good,’ because I didn’t want to have to pay.
“So she gets her wallet out and pulls out a $100 bill, and Joe looked like he was tearing up,” Nesseler said.
“I asked Kathleen if she was sure and she said, ‘This place has been opened for what seems like forever and he needed this,’ and she’s right.”
At 402 1st Ave. in Silvis is Lolita’s. The restaurant has a parking lot, but owners Dee Dee and Abraham Abarca have not put up any tables.
Abraham said that a good portion of their business was carryout anyway, and it would be too much trouble to set up tables outside. So far, there hasn’t been a need.
“It’s been very busy,” Dee Dee said, taking just a moment to say something before answering a phone that did not seem to stop ringing.
Then, as soon as Dee Dee got done with one customer at the drive-up window, she was at the kitchen packing more bags with food and then running back to the drive-up window. As soon as one car drove away, another pulled up. And the phone would ring again.