Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) unveiled the “Bethesda Streetery” in June 2020 as an economic recovery response during the COVID-19 pandemic. The open-air eatery featured an outdoor seating design with tables and chairs, at least 6’ apart, placed on closed portions of Cordell Avenue, Norfolk Avenue and Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda, MD. Streetery attendees were invited to “Picnic on the Avenue” after picking up food and beverages from any local Bethesda restaurant. The closed streets were (safely) bustling again, and the Streetery became a destination for the community that offered a safe way to dine out.
When restaurants’ patronage was cut in half, and at times restricted to no indoor dining, the Streetery was a solution those eateries could offer their patrons to add dining capacity. It also encouraged economic support of local shops because a trip to the Streetery also enticed people to once again visit their favorite neighborhood businesses. To implement the new initiative, BUP partnered with county government officials, local businesses and corporate partners, including the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Federal Realty Investment Trust and Bethesda restaurants. The temporary street closures were communicated clearly to restauranters and retailers, and curbside pick-up parking was added to the areas around the Streetery to accommodate takeout patrons. The concept was widely supported by the community which recognized the need to provide more accessible outdoor space to residents, visitors and businesses. The BUP team was on site at the Streetery to answer questions and manage the street closure, as well as disinfect tables, handle trash removal, oversee table placement and more. The Streetery not only gave the community a safe and enjoyable dining option, but also provided restaurants with additional seating and the chance to once again connect more fully with their customers at a safe distance.
Bethesda Urban Partnership