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The ebb and flow of the crowd at a restaurant is always a little interesting to watch, especially on a busy evening.  Patrons almost seem to be drawn into the restaurant in waves sometimes and then just as quickly ebb out of the restaurant to make room for the next wave to be seated and enjoy their epicurean adventures.  However, there are times and places where this ebb and flow can be disrupted by other events in such a way as to make the tidal aspect of the place even more pronounced.

Such was the scene last evening at Houlihan’s in Hershey.  And, I suspect that it is a regular occurence.

You see, Houlihan’s is located in the newly restored Hershey Press Building near the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa.  When the Press Building was restored they also built a parking structure that is one of the only decent parking areas in the “downtown” section of Hershey.  This very nice restaurant with its easily accessible parking is located across the street and one block down from the historic Hershey Theater to which I have often referred in the past.

Thus the tidal flow.

Any time there is a show or event at the theater, or even the nearby Giant Center, Houlihan’s will begin to fill up quickly two or three hours prior to the beginning of the event.  People will flood in, have a nice meal, grab a beer or glass of wine and chat over their meal. 

Then, between an hour and thirty minutes prior to curtain, the ebb tide will begin.  People will begin flooding out of the restaraunt discussing who has the tickets, where they are sitting, and whether they should drive over or just walk. 

It is an interesting phenomenon to witness.  It is even more enjoyable to participate in as my wife and I did on our way out to attend a performance at the theater by the Martha Graham Dance Company.  The people waiting to be seated looked in shock as a steady stream of people left the restaraunt with a startling suddenness.  It was actually a little amusing.

And as I settled into my seat in the Theater and perused the evenings program the man next to me leaned over and asked how my meal at Houlihan’s had been.  I smiled and told him it had been quite satisfying.  We both chuckled as we gazed around the Theater.

Half the patrons had been in Houlihan’s less than twenty minutes before.

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