Whatever their religious affiliation, restaurant managers here like the new LDS temple.

Perhaps more accurately, they like the 870,361 people who went through the temple during the public open house that started Nov. 5 and ended Saturday.Think of it. After a hard day of driving up to Bountiful Boulevard (where the temple is), parking the car, tramping through the snow to the temple, shushing the kids, going through the temple, tramping back through the snow to the car, and driving down from Bountiful Boulevard, one can acquire a powerful hunger.

Through the month and a half of the open house, Bountiful restaurants were poised to satisfy that hunger in whatever culinary form it might take.

"Welcome temple visitors," said the sign in front of Lee's Family Restaurant. "Meat loaf $3.95."

"2 medium pizzas $12.99," trumpeted Francesco's Pizza's sign. "Welcome temple visitors."

"Welcome temple visitors," Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates' sign said. "Come in for a free sample."

The welcome is understandable. Estimates of increased restaurant business from the open house range from 10 percent to 50 percent. Convenience stores also saw an increase.

Business, in short, was booming.

"People get through with the tour and they don't necessarily want to go shopping, but they often will want to go get something to eat," said City Manager Tom Hardy.

"It has been a real driver for business," said Sizzler market analyst Steve Krawic. "I don't know what will happen when the temple closes its doors to the public, but I'm sure (LDS Church members visiting the temple) will continue to come."

Indeed, though the temple is now closed to the public, a steady stream of LDS faithful will continue to come into town to participate in temple ordinances after the Jan. 8-14 dedication ceremonies.

City officials have welcomed the temple and its visitors with open arms. They accelerated construction of a planned extension of 400 South eastward to Bountiful Boulevard to provide access, and the City Council awarded one of its annual beautification awards to the LDS Church for the temple and its grounds.

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An average of 25,000 people visited the temple each day of the open house. That's almost 2,000 people driving on 400 North and 1800 South, the main routes to and from the temple, every hour.

By most accounts, the vastly increased traffic moved smoothly.

The traffic did cause some headaches during snowstorms. Dick Duncan, superintendent of streets, said he assigned one snowplow driver exclusively to the temple route, but even so, the heavy traffic and steep slopes of those streets made the job "tough."

The temple is now closed until Jan. 8, when the first dedication ceremony will take place. Between now and then, workers will clean up the scuffs and stains and fingerprints deposited by the 867,251 visitors.

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