Profit margins are thin in the restaurant business in the best of times and these certainly aren’t the best of times. Under Phase II, the District allowed restaurants to re-open at 50% capacity for seated patrons with tables placed so that patrons are at least 6 feet apart. However, this doesn’t take into account that with the 6 foot rule, many restaurants can’t reach 50% capacity and people are reluctant to eat indoors.
The “streatery” was born out of proverbial necessity. In June, the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) started allowing restaurants to convert sidewalk space, alleys, parking lanes and travel lanes into parklets and outdoor dining seating. DDOT waived the permit fees which has been an enormous help.
Rice and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace were the first restaurants to take the leap and apply for a streatery in front of their restaurants. We had a bit of a learning curve understanding the permit process, posting emergency no-parking signs, and then figuring out ordering and placing fences, outdoor furniture, umbrellas and plants.
Next came Pappe who wanted cafe tables on the sidewalk to have outdoor seating and then another streatery application for Slipstream. Le Diplomate and Cork DC applied for and received permits as well.
Then, we got more ambitious and decided to apply for a block-long streatery to provide seating for Logan Tavern, Stoney’s, Number 9, Commissary, SweetGreen and Blue Bottle Coffee. As it was a bigger space, it needed more decorating and so we asked Charlotte Reid Design and Events to help out. They created a District-themed streatery for us.
Estadio was next to open a streatery allowing them to return to full-service operation. Estadio Afuera, which means “outside” streatery is partially located on 14th Street and partially on Church Street.
“The way I am looking at it is even though this year is largely lost and so sad in many ways, we have this period coming up which is really the best two months to be open,” owner Max Kuller says. “We’re trying to be the best seasonal version of Estadio we can be.”
Ammathar, The Pig and Chicken + Whiskey were just approved for streateries and Pearl Dive will be expanding onto Corcoran Street soon. LCMS just submitted an application for Barcelona Wine Bar.
We’re all working hard to make the best of a bad situation. It’s so important to keep our local businesses open for their sake and ours.
What kind of Main Street do we want in Logan Circle when the pandemic ends? I think we want 14th Street to once again be an important food and beverage destination for visitors and residents.
Restaurant owners have told me the streateries are the difference between staying open and closing permanently and they’ve been able to bring people back to work. It really warms the cockles of my heart – whatever they are. I’ll have to see if they’re served at Pearl Dive!
These times have been tough on all of us. We thank you for your continued support while we navigate this tough time together. The Logan Circle Main Street has been working to support business owners and make sure that they are informed about opportunities for access to capital like the Mayor’s Microgrant and the PPP program from the SBA. We are working hard to make sure that they are prepared to keep their doors open. Help us continue doing out work by chipping in $10, $100, $1,000 at districtbridges.org/donate.