All over the world, restaurants are spilling out into the streets in response to data that suggests that outdoor dining is a safer option. Madison is responding in its own unique way with a "Streatery" program designed by the City's economic development and planning staff.
To aid restaurants and taverns who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City's new Streatery Program allows expanded outdoor dining options. The citywide program allows restaurants and taverns to expand outdoor dining onto the public sidewalks, on-street parking areas, or in privately-owned parking lots through a streamlined administrative approval process, enabling establishments to expand their capacity while administering physical distancing guidelines. All participating establishments are required to maintain good hygiene practices to prevent further community spread of COVID-19.
Restaurants are opening, or will soon be open, all over the city from the Daisy Cupcakery and La Taguara on the East side, Ogden’s on the North Side and the Blue Moon and Original Pancake House on the west side. Over 50 new outdoor cafes throughout the city will be open until the end of October.
The Downtown has several unique outdoor dining rooms that popped-up as a part of this new program. Merchant, Lucille, Ancora Coffee, Settle Down Tavern and Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse combined efforts to create a large, well lit patio garden atmosphere on South Pinckney Street as part of a café zone. They will soon be joined by other large combined café zones on many of the other spoke streets around the Square.
State Street is also offering a unique pedestrian experience for summer weekends through August 23, giving State Street a “Maxwell Street Days” vibe every weekend. To help the reopening and recovery of State Street, the City will close State Street to all vehicular traffic, including Metro Transit buses, every weekend Friday evening through Late Sunday night. Retailers, restaurants and taverns are encouraged to take advantage of the City's new Streatery Program to expand their sidewalk cafes and merchant vending facing toward State Street.
State Street area retailers will continue to be able to sell their wares on the sidewalk under the City's Merchant Vending Program. The City hopes that retailers take full advantage of this unique opportunity when the street is closed to traffic. This program on State Street is temporary, and in order to accommodate weekday Metro Transit bus schedules, the State Street closure will be limited to Friday evenings starting at 6:45 p.m. throughout the weekend, ending late Sunday evenings.
All outdoor seating is subject to Public Health Madison Dane County Orders. As of July 7, restaurants are allowed to seat at 25% indoor capacity and full capacity outdoors as long as the 6’ physical distancing is maintained between tables. Taverns and Bars can only serve take out or seated outdoor capacity with members from the same household. dining and drinking must be done seated and the café areas are not gathering spaces. As of July 13, masks will also be required in all public spaces.
Taiwan Little Eats on State Street said in a shared Facebook Post “Thanks to the Streatery Program we’ve been able to expand our outdoor seating to almost what we had in-store.” Please consider helping local businesses during this very challenging time by taking advantage of the Streatery outdoor eating opportunities or pickup options on weekends this summer. Together we can help bridge our favorite local restaurants and businesses through a very challenging time.