Park Slope entrepreneur upgrades local eatery’s outdoor dining space

Brooklyn-based company, Citibin, donated planters and bamboo siding to Park Slope’s Calexico.
Photo courtesy of Citibin

A local entrepreneur outfitted the outdoor seating area of her favorite Park Slope eatery with state-of-the-art planters, bringing a burst of floral beauty to the Fifth Avenue dining space. 

“We are most known in New York for our trash enclosures,” said Liz Picarazzi, founder of Brooklyn-based company Citibin. “But we also make planters out of our shop in Red Hook.”

As she noticed many restaurants scraping together what they could for outdoor dining setups, Picarazzi wanted to figure out a way she could help out the local eateries that comprise her beloved neighborhood. 

“In the spring when restaurants started putting together outdoor dining, we noticed a lot of cinder blocks and plywood,” she said. “I realized [restaurants] didn’t have a lot of choices available to quickly create outdoor dining in a way that was both safe and beautiful.” 

She was thrilled to have been connected with Calexico, a Mexican restaurant on Fifth Avenue that she regularly patronizes with her family, after reaching out to the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID with her offer of support. 

“We were psyched. My husband, daughter and I go to Calexico probably three or four times a year,” she said. “And for us, this was a way to beautify outdoor dining at a restaurant we loved going to indoors.”

Working with Calexico’s management, CitiBin upgraded the Fifth Avenue’s eatery’s outdoor space — previously only composed of painted wooden barriers — with two custom planters, flowers and their iconic bamboo siding free of charge. 

“We worked with them to design something that would work for the space and meet their needs,” she said. “Just the addition of two things, planters and siding on the front, and it totally transformed the look.”

The donated planters will last the restaurant through multiple seasons, Picarazzi said.Photo courtesy of Citibin

Similar to their trash enclosures, Picarazzi’s planters — made of recycled bamboo and aluminum — will last restaurants though many seasons especially as outdoor dining has now been made permanent and year-round in New York City.

“They are meant for long-term, outdoor use, so the restaurants can use these over and over, season after season,” Picarazzi said. “Most of the materials they are building with now are only going to really last one season.”

While Citibin’s rise to fame was their trash enclosures, Picarazzi said the pandemic has surprisingly brought her other products to the forefront, such as her planters and parcel lockers. and has spurred the company’s transition to more of an outdoor living brand. 

“Some of the products that we made more infrequently,  we are now putting in the forefront because now people really need them in the pandemic,” Picarazzi said. “It’s been a bit of a pivot.”