Until now, it has been a challenge for District restaurants to get outdoor dining approval . Thankfully, due in part to public pressure, that’s changing. DC Health has recently published a handy guide called “Reimagining Outdoor Space: Restaurants and Retail”. New regulations stipulate that restaurants only need to register to utilize sidewalk space, but must follow up with a public space permit within five days. There is even a streamlined process to close down parking lanes for additional outdoor dining.
This is a lifeline for many restaurants that have been struggling during the pandemic. Many people are not comfortable dining indoors but are willing to have a meal outside- with appropriate social distancing, of course!
We’ve noticed two restaurants in particular who have created lovely and inviting outdoor dining spaces. Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan has built a beautiful tent surrounded by flower boxes overflowing with colorful flowers and sweet potato vine. Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse in Dupont Circle has created cozy seating on both the sidewalk and in the parking lane that is adorned with colorful hanging lanterns.