Strathmore is planning a $10 million project to add a 200-seat dining area to the venue. Credit: Music Center at Strathmore

The Music Center at Strathmore on Monday released drawings for a $10 million expansion project that will add 5,000 square feet of glass-enclosed dining space to the North Bethesda concert venue.

The addition scheduled for completion in January 2020 will put the finishing touches on the 190,000-square-foot center that opened more than a decade ago.

Strathmore’s proposal calls for surrounding the building’s Bou Terrace with floor-to-ceiling glass panels to create the 200-seat dining area, according to a press release. The panels will also be able to open up and expose the eatery to the outdoors.

“It will be a gorgeous room with a view. It can be in the winter enclosed, and in the summer, it can open to the outside,” said Eliot Pfanstiehl, Strathmore’s chief executive officer.

Venue operators can also use the extra space for rentals, meetings and performances.

As part of the project, the venue will also get a new escalator intended to ease crowd congestion. Installing the escalator from the building’s promenade level to the orchestra level will involve moving the men’s bathroom and the entrance to the Comcast Lounge.


Pfanstiehl said he doesn’t anticipate the improvement project will force any closures at the venue.

“We’re going to build this plane while we’re still flying it,” he said.

The state, which invested heavily in Strathmore’s original construction, is putting an initial $3 million toward the expansion project. Funding from the state, the county and private sources will cover the remainder of the cost, according to the release.


Building the new eating space will advance Strathmore’s ongoing work on improving the dining experience at the center. Last year, the venue chose a new company, Ridgewells Catering based in Bethesda, to handle food operations at the center.



Renderings of the planned addition at Music Center at Strathmore. Credit: Strathmore