Life got a little better for commuters stuck in rush-hour on the 100 block of South Ann Arbor Street Friday evening.
That's when Brecon Grille owner Paul Geragosian and server Angel Schilke took to the street to give away the restaurant's free potato chips.
Geragosian and his staff packaged the hickory flavored, homemade potato chips into 200 little white bags. Each of the bags also included a coupon entitling one to a free beverage (with a purchase) during the restaurant's happy hours.
It look less than 30 minutes to distribute the chips. Each time the light at Michigan Avenue turned red, Geragosian and Schilke darted out into the road and gave away the chips to motorists waiting in their idling vehicles.
"A couple of people looked at me like, 'What's this guy doing?' But most of the people really happy to get the chips," Geragosian said. "A couple people asked me for beer or a margarita. I told them they'd have to go inside for that."
And that's the goal. The Michigan Avenue construction project has hurt business, Geragosian said. There's no way around it. With less people visiting downtown Saline, Brecon Grille has closed for lunch on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. While Geragosian has reduced hours, he's also stepping up the marketing efforts, to bring more people to his restaurant in the evening.
On Fridays, he's direct marketing on South Ann Arbor Street.
"It's a captive audience. Last week I saw all these people sitting in traffic right outside my door and I decided to try to reach them," he said.
Geragosian said the Pave It Forward raffle campaign has helped. Local businesses are collecting receipts and, with Saline Main Street, raffling off prizes each month. And he was glad to see the Summer Music Series campaign bring a big crowd to downtown Saline Thursday night.
"Right now, we're doing what we have to do to get through it," he said. "I'm looking forward to the completion of this project, and it helps to know that when it's done, it's going to be a lot better. You hang on to your bootstraps right now, but when it's done people will have an easier time getting around and it should look great."
Brecon Grille has happy hour specials from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.