The Al Fresco program on Main Street ends this weekend

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City asks for feedback on the outdoor dining program 2021

As fall approaches, the cooler temperatures and changing weather mean the dining areas on Main Street will soon be closed for the year. These extended outdoor dining areas will be closed after dinner on Sunday 19 September. The sidewalk terraces generally stay open as long as the weather and demand permit. The city encourages residents to explore the rooms and then take an experience survey so that the programs can be improved in the future.

The restaurants on the street were made possible through a close partnership between the City of Bellevue, the Bellevue Downtown Association and the Old Bellevue Merchants’ Association with sponsorship from Microsoft. In addition to the street areas dedicated to dining on Main Street during the program, the Heart of Bellevue Al Fresco program sponsored more than 50 other outdoor dining restaurants and cafes across the city.

“Our local businesses, the city and our customers deserve great credit for the success of the outdoor program,” said Patrick Bannon, president of the Bellevue Downtown Association. “It is worthwhile to see the special value the community and our restaurants bring in recovering from the pandemic.”

“The community needed safe places to meet, and our local restaurants have adapted to that need by turning to this al fresco dining experience,” said Jane Broom, senior director of Microsoft Philanthropies for Washington state. “We hope this can be a part of the future of the Eastside and that everyone can enjoy the amazing flavors and cultures of the area.”

To ensure the program continues to be of value to all stakeholders, the city is again asking for feedback on the Main Street dining rooms to better understand how residents, business owners and visitors have used the space. This will help the city work with businesses to create livelier street landscapes in the future. In last year’s survey, 80% of respondents said the patio areas make them more likely to revisit Main Street in the future, and one in three said they’ve shopped at a retailer while eating in these areas, and foodservice areas don’t just benefit gastronomy, but also retail.

“This survey is one way the city can better understand how residents and space users see the trade-off between different uses of the street,” said Mac Cummins, the city’s director of community development. “This will help us plan the future of the Main Street program and hopefully develop other valuable programs across the city.”

Residents and businesses can learn more about the city’s outdoor dining program by completing the Outdoor Dining program survey. In addition, restaurant operators can use this page to find out about options for expanding their outdoor space in the winter months.


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