Greenwich Village’s Carbone getting creative with outdoor dining

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Carbone is getting serious about outdoor dining this winter — shelling out for a fancy space that resembles the posh Italian-American eatery’s look inside. 

Gov. Cuomo’s ban on indoor dining took effect at restaurants citywide Monday — a severe clampdown that many restaurateurs worry could threaten their survival for good. 

Meanwhile, Carbone was busy weatherproofing its new dining room on the curb outside its restaurant at 181 Thompson St. in Greenwich Village. To regulars, the structure taking shape Monday afternoon already looked familiar: black-and-white, penny-mosaic tiles on the floor, pressed-tin ceilings above, and a weather-resistant version of its luxe burgundy velvet curtains to keep diners cozy. 

“It’s basically like being inside Carbone’s, but outside,” Carbone co-founder Jeff Zalaznick told Side Dish. 

A Michelin-starred red-sauce joint known for its retro style and stiff prices, Carbone is where George and Amal Clooney were turned away when they showed up without a reservation. And it’s where police got called in when patrons clogged the sidewalk waiting for their takeout orders at the start of the pandemic. 

As it devised an outdoor space to ride out the winter, it was important that Carbone get the outside look right, Zalaznick said. 

To make it happen, the restaurant turned to FullStack Modular, a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of modular buildings. Full Stack is most famous for creating the tallest modular residential building in New York — a 32-story tower at 461 Dean St. in Brooklyn that’s made of prefabricated units stacked up like Legos. 

Lately, the company has made a series of “pandemic pivots” that also have included building isolation modules for health-care workers. Carbone is the latest example, says Full Stack Modular founder Roger Krulak. 

“We worked closely with Carbone, and completely customized the space,” Krulak said. “We used the same tiles from the restaurant on the floor, the same tin ceiling, and the same paint on the walls — Carbone cobalt blue.” 

The modules cost between $75,000 to $100,000 a pop. Carbone owner Major Food Group, which installed a similar module at its nearby bagel-and-smoked-fish venue Sadelle’s, has partnered with American Express and Resy to bankroll them. Two more are planned this week for other Major Food eateries. 

The units are made of steel and covered in plywood at Krulak’s 85,000-square-foot factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They take two weeks to build and a day to install. 


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