ST. LOUIS — Mission Taco Joint has been hit hard by the pandemic, and at one point battled state bureaucracy in an effort to sell to-go cocktails.
One government action has helped it though: the city of St. Louis' closure of Euclid Avenue in stretches of the Central West End.
Launched in July by the neighborhood's community improvement district, the "Streatery" program allowed restaurants to put tables in the street during weekend evenings, freeing up more dining space amid government occupancy restrictions and some customers' hesitancy to eat inside.
With favorable weather and residents seeking something to do, the Central West End scene has been that of a large outdoor party.
"I think it's amazing," said Adam Tilford, who runs Mission Taco, with seven locations, including 398 N. Euclid. "It kind of has that European feel to it."
Though Mission's revenue is still down compared with last year, on Streatery Fridays and Saturdays "we're not down as much as the rest of the week," Tilford said. "It is bringing a lot more people to the area and allowing us to get a lot more food and drink out." The program has been extended to Sundays, noon to 8 p.m.
Post-Covid, Tilford said the idea still could still make sense.
The area's alderwoman, Heather Navarro, agrees. She said Streatery has proven that "if you want to have the incredible, amazing benefits of this, to look up at the Chase (Park Plaza) and across the street from Forest Park, it doesn't work if it's filled with cars."
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