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Bellevue Launches New Season of Expanded Outdoor Dining

May 20, 2021 - by Kensey Wentworth

Category What's Happening

Bellevue Launches New Season of "Al Fresco" Expanded Outdoor Dining

The sunny weather ahead means summer is on the way, and so is increased opportunity for dining outdoors. Outdoor dining has been critical to many restaurants continuing their operations under COVID-19 capacity restrictions. Last year, the Bellevue Downtown Association worked with the City of Bellevue to streamline permitting and identify creative spaces where businesses could safely expand their footprint and welcome more customers safely. This year, in partnership with Microsoft, the "Al Fresco" program returns to the Heart of Bellevue to offer outdoor dining options in downtown Bellevue and beyond.

The program runs now through the summer, promoting on-street, sidewalk, parking lot, and private property patios together as tools to support restaurants and increase vibrancy. In addition to the collective on-street expansion of space on Main Street, more than 40 other restaurants are offering outdoor dining across the city.

“It was encouraging to see the success and support of the outdoor dining program last year, both for local businesses and for patrons looking to enjoy Bellevue while safely dining and shopping,” said Mayor Lynne Robinson. “I’m really looking forward to taking part again this year and want to thank our community partners who are back to support this program as an important component of our return to full capacity.” 

“As we transition to more normalcy in this pandemic recovery, the Al Fresco program will provide continued options for our businesses to serve as many customers as possible each step of the way,” added Mac Cummins, Director for the city’s Community Development department that is playing a key support role in re-launching the program. 

The original, ten-week program that launched in August 2020 resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from restaurants and residents, giving organizers confidence it could again be effective and even expanded.

“After we saw the success of last year’s Al Fresco program, we’re excited to bring it back and promote even more participating businesses,” Patrick Bannon, president of the Bellevue Downtown Association, said. “This is a great way to support our local restaurants and retailers and enjoy the outdoors in Downtown Bellevue.”

Several popular eateries are participating, offering up more opportunities to dine out Downtown, al fresco style. 

Program details and a map of participating restaurants are available here. Businesses interested in participating in the program can find options and resources in a business assistance flyer and at


This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.