WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Two restaurants across the street from Nationals Park had the rug pulled out from under them as the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) told them to pick up their outdoor dining area ahead of opening day.
DDOT claimed a public safety issue and said it had to be cleaned up before every game day.
This morning we spent a few hours making the streetery look great for opening day. Just got a visit from DDOT telling us our streetery needs to be removed. Absolutely crushing @missionnavyyard and us 48 hours before opening day. @falcicchio@charlesallen@trayonwhite@dcmoncWalter’s Sports Bar’s Twitter
The owner of Walter’s, Jeremy Gifford, said the reason does not add up. He explained, “This is a little bit of a slower street. Cars still go a little faster here, but I know for a fact that on game days, the cars move slowest because there are too many of them, so it’s the safest time to have these streateries.”
Gifford installed the streatery during the pandemic to DDOT’s specifications. He said the structure is vital to his business, especially on game days.
“Having this streatery during baseball season is critical to allow us to dig ourselves out of the hole the pandemic put us in. Having it only available when we do not need it is irrelevant,” he said
Ahead of opening day, Gifford now has to figure out how to split server sections inside his restaurant so that his staff can still work, and he has to figure out how to squeeze reservations that were made for the streatery. He said there are 25 to 30 reservations for each day Thursday through Sunday that he will have to move inside.
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen also reached out to DDOT in a Tweet, saying, “I spoke with DDOT Director tonight. Asked them to find a solution here because streateries are great for local biz & customers – and businesses like these have already made staffing & ordering decisions for Opening Day.”