Good eats on the street

Julia Rich, Reporter

At the peak of COVID-19, I was disappointed that I could not eat indoors at restaurants with my friends and family. However, the restrictions on indoor dining opened a new door to outdoor streeteries. The development of outdoor dining has had a great impact on the restaurant community and created a more enjoyable dining experience for many.

During COVID-19, dining at restaurants was uncommon because many people did not feel comfortable eating inside, forcing restaurants to discover more outdoor seating options to stay in business. Ten years ago, however, using street space for outdoor seating was illegal in many cities, according to the National Association of Realtors. The circumstances of the pandemic allowed restaurants to explore those outdoor seating spaces more freely.

Many restaurants in Montgomery County opened streeteries over the past couple of years. The Bethesda streetery has become a very popular dining space in Montgomery County. The county closed off the block soon after the start of the pandemic to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating on Woodmont Ave. between Elm St. and Bethesda Av..

According to, this year, the Bethesda streetery is now reopening a portion of the road to traffic. This decision is due to ​​local businesses returning and their demand for Woodmont St. to reopen for vehicles. In doing so, Bethesda would get rid of the vibrant space within the area.

The outdoor seating in Bethesda is unique because you do not have to get food from a specific restaurant in order to eat there. If you’re dining with friends, you can each grab food from different places and then sit at the streetery together. Many restaurants forbid people to bring in food from other places, so streeteries accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences while allowing groups to eat together.

Going out to eat and trying new restaurants is one of my favorite things to do. However, during popular meal times, there are often few places to sit because restaurants often fill up fast. Luckily, streeteries have enough space for everyone and are incredibly fun and social places to eat at.

Additionally, restaurants have a lot of room for creativity when building these streeteries, as they can add thematic elements to their decor that they do not have room for in indoor dining.

Whatever form streeteries take, they bring people together for a creative and fun dining experience. Although most of them were initially established to help keep businesses open, I hope they remain intact even after the pandemic.