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Thinking Outside the Box: A Creative Outdoor Dining Design

April 26, 2021


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As restaurants around the country shut down or decreased capacity in 2020, owners scrambled to figure out how to maintain business amid the restrictions of COVID-19. But that was no problem for Carbone, upscale Italian-American restaurant in Greenwich Village, NYC. They decided to think outside the box and went... inside the box

With interior seating cut back and winter approaching, many restaurants turned to shanty-style structures and lamppost heaters to bump up available seating. Carbone had other ideas. They turned to FullStack Modular, experts in modular structures, who helped them create a more refined temporary dining experience.

Constructing a Solution

FullStack, Brooklyn-based manufacturer of modular buildings, recently made a few "pandemic pivots", relates founder, Roger Krulak. These pivots included healthcare worker isolation modules and solutions for businesses affected by the pandemic, including restaurants.

Carbone and FullStack worked together to come up with the eight-foot-by-45-foot modules that can seat 24 and fully comply with state and local mandates. The units are constructed of steel and plywood in FullStack’s factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They take about two weeks to build and a day to install. American Express helped fund the undertaking.

Carbone, New York, NY

Maintaining the Carbone Aesthetic

Maintaining the same aesthetic in the modules as in the restaurant was important to Carbone. They used the same black-and-white tile on the floor. The same lush red velvet curtains. The same tin ceiling.

That tin ceiling is one of American Tin Ceiling’s most popular patterns, Pattern #1. The classic concentric squares in unfinished tin not only carry the decor of Carbone to this new space, but make the space feel larger than it is—a bonus in the small modules. Installation of the nail-up tiles was simple and contributed to the quick building timeline.

Even if logistics had to change, Carbone strove to provide the same experience outside as in. "It’s basically like being inside Carbone’s, but outside," Carbone co-founder Jeff Zalaznick told Side Dish.

Ceiling Pattern #1 in Unfinished

Dealing with the Weather

The modules, which opened in December 2020, were designed for all seasons. The modular pods are warmer and more protected from the weather than shanty-like pods built over the sidewalks.

They have open sides (as required by COVID-19 guidelines), which can be covered with the weather-resistant curtains during cold or wet weather or opened in sunny weather. Additional seating outside the module on the sidewalk can be added as spring approaches.

Ceiling Pattern #1 in Unfinished

Come rain, snow, or COVID, Carbone is ready to tackle any situation and find the silver lining in the storm.

Shop Featured Pattern #1

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