As businesses nation-wide contend with social distancing recommendations, a Colusa restaurant has found a clever workaround – turning a parking space into table space.
“Customers want to be outside,” said Carolee Ornbaun, co-proprietor of Rocco’s Bar and Grill, and Caffeinated in Colusa.
Those visiting the downtown area will notice the large shipping container located in front of the business – no, the business isn’t renovating, it’s innovating.
‘Parklets’ can often be found in many urban areas, and is a growing trend marketed as a clever way to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A parklet is anything that takes up a parking space for dining space,” said Ornbaun. “They are a big thing in the city and popping up everywhere.”
With two large windows, lighting, bar stools, and a counter, customers from the coffee shop and the restaurant can enjoy their beverages and meals in the great outdoors.
Although Rocco’s and Caffeinated share an outdoor patio in the back; however, Ornbaun said that they find the patio full of customers.
“This gives us another opportunity to provide outdoor seating,” said Ornbaun. “Many have come to love the parklet once they take the chance to try it out.”
While the decision to install the parklet received some criticism on social media, most customers are loving the idea of innovation.
“I think it is fantastic,” said Camie Kaelin. “I applaud Don and Carolee for thinking outside the box.”
“I received a few messages from customers enjoying themselves, it makes me really happy,” Ornbaun said.
Ornbaun said that they have worked with the city to ensure customers will be safe, and are currently working with the Colusa County Arts Council to develop a way to paint and decorate the outside.
“I look forward to working with the Arts Council and creating a work of art that is both functional and interactive,” said Ornbaun. “Just come give it a try, you’ll love it.”
So the next time you’re in Colusa, enjoy a firehouse chicken sandwich from Rocco’s, or a double shot espresso from Caffeinated in the parklet. ■