GREENFIELD — An old schoolroom chalkboard from a single-room schoolhouse is nestled nicely inside a large cedar wood frame.
The slate chalkboard is tucked up against an outdoor walk-in cooler, also surrounded by cedar, in full view for all to see.
It’s where dinner and drink specials will be on display daily in the new outdoor seating area at Carnegie’s Restaurant, 100 W. North Street, Greenfield.
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It’s all part of the new patio, featuring outdoor lighting, lush greenery and a cedar wall filled with wood to stoke flames in the brick oven, where Carnegie’s signature bread toasts to a golden brown.
The chalkboard holds special meaning to Carnegie’s Restaurant owner Ian Harrison of Greenfield. It came from his mother’s old school room in Rhode Island.
“I’ve always been looking for a special place to use it, and this is a great spot,” Harrison said.
Harrison has been thinking about creating a larger outdoor dining area for years, and he decided when his old outdoor flooring started to age, it was the perfect time to expand.
He’s owned the restaurant since 1999 and has offered a smaller outdoor eating area — but nothing like what he’s created.
And the reception has been wonderful, he said.
“From everything we hear from people walking by and seeing it to the guests who have been here, they’re all very excited about it,” Harrison said.
The outdoor dining patio sets the mood for a more casual crowd, Harrison said. The cedar patio walls are completed with a special awning, which can be lowered on particularly sunny nights to offer shade to guests.
Harrison said the outdoor dining provides guests the chance to enjoy those beautiful, cooler evenings when people want to eat outside or just stop by for a glass of wine.
Harrison said he is always trying to challenge himself and come up with new, exciting things to keep customers coming back; he feels the new patio meets that goal.
“It’s really cool in the evening when all the lights are on,” Harrison said. “It’s kind of magical.”