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New streatery planned for downtown DC with open-air tents, music and chef 'action stations'

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District said it plans to start 'Downtown DC Dine Out' Sept. 25.

WASHINGTON — A new outdoor dining option is being planned for downtown D.C. and its organizers say it will be different than your typical streetery. 

Barry Gutin, CEO of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, has teamed up with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District to create "Downtown DC Dine Out".

As first reported in the Washingtonian, the outdoor dining experience will take place between H and I streets NW along 8th Street NW.

RELATED: Part of 18th Street in Adams Morgan closed to traffic to expand outdoor dining

Gutin said he and his team came up with the idea after looking for ways to entice diners back downtown.

“In order for us to get people to come from all over the metropolitan area, we've got to create an experience that's got great hospitality and a great entertainment experience,” he said.

Over the last few months, restaurants across the metropolitan Washington region have placed tables in street parking spots and sidewalks to create safer dining environments for customers during the coronavirus’ spread.

RELATED: DC restaurants and businesses push for more streetery space

However, Downtown DC Dine Out will be unique because of its location. Emily Mooney, retail strategy manager for the DowntownDC Business Improvement District, said the block it will take place on does not have any restaurants.

She said participating restaurants will make their own decisions as to how they provide diners their meals.

“We really want to try and take advantage of the good weather and give restaurants a venue or platform to expand their outdoor dining capacity,” she said.

Gutin said other restaurants like Olivia, Cranes and Red Apron have already committed to participate alongside Cuba Libre. 

RELATED: You can be fined up to $100 if you don't social distance in Arlington County

Customers will dine under open-air tents while listening to music and watching a few chefs cook at “action stations." 

“This is all by reservation,” Gutin said. “You make a reservation for your favorite restaurant that's participating and the table will be waiting for you to sit down. [Then] you’ll be served by a waiter or waitress.”

Gutin said social distancing will be enforced.

Downtown DC Dine Out is expected to begin Sept. 25, according to Mooney. She said it could extend to K Street if such capacity is needed.

RELATED: Could outdoor 'streeteries' become a permanent fixture across the DMV?

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