Scottsdale eatery building domes for safe outdoor dining

One Valley restaurant is hoping to bring more hungry customers back to their tables amid the pandemic by building outdoor domes for private dining.

Culinary Dropout, an eatery with locations across the Phoenix metro area, is building "Desert Domes" outside of their Scottsdale Quarter location to make people feel safer eating out.

So far, the phone calls asking for reservations have been nonstop, according to Ryan Justesen, manager for Culinary Dropout at the Scottsdale Quarter.

They opened at the height of the pandemic, and the sound of construction has finally returned.

"I think it’s the first in Arizona we’ve seen these, so I think people are excited," Justesen said.

For now, the restaurant has set up four geodesic domes that can fit 2 to 6 people. They're separated from other guests while still dining outside with a heater.

"I think people are hungry to have experiences right now," said Justesen. "We’ve been hunkered up at home, not really able to do a lot, so you’re able to get out and have a new experience - and also, it feels safe. It feels good to go outside in your own private space and go out with people that you love."

Culinary Dropout worked with the Scottsdale Quarter to take over the space normally reserved for valet to put in the domes, and they needed approval that was fast-tracked by the governor's executive orders on outdoor dining.

"They want people to sit outside," said Mindy Freed with Morning Kick.

Freed won one of the governor's grants to transform her outdoor dining space.

"We might actually put a tent over there to extend outdoor seating and add misters," Freed said.

Businesses need to think outside the dome to lure customers in a safe way during a pandemic. 

"A lot of restaurants are getting creative with outdoor patio space and extension of premises, so I think other people will see this and hop on board," said Ryan Justesen.

These domes will be available until the end of March, but reservations are going fast.

Reserve your own dome with Culinary Dropout:

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