April 13, 2010

Adventures at Carnival Island

Carnival Island has been open for only two months, yet is quickly becoming an iconic local establishment.  Locals may recognize the Carnival Island name as it was open in years past, however this year a greatly expanded menu has helped to create an entirely new experience.  What is most satisfying about Carnival Island is their commitment to the local community.  Nestled among car dealerships, community colleges, and big box retailers, Carnival Island's unlikely location is one of  it's biggest strengths.  The corporate office park like setting provides a convenient dining option for nearby businesses and students.  This summer, the restaurant plans to provide extended hours to serve a crowd of baseball players from nearby ball parks. 

The approach to Carnival Island is most deceptive. Things that will run through your head while navigating to this miniature sized carnival food eatery is: 1.) Google Maps have deceived me; 2.) Car salesmen must love carnival foods; 3.) The restaurant is desperately in need of a sign as big (or bigger than) their building. 

Ice cream stands have a long history of uniquely attractive aesthetics and Carnival Island does not disappoint.  The overall design of the building is just as unexpected as the eatery's location. It is essentially a mobile home outfitted with restaurant equipment and flashy decoration. A water theme dominates the design of the exterior: applied wavy water graphics (perhaps inspired by Cincinnati's official flag?), an offset steamboat paddle wheel-styled roof canopy, all surrounded by Boise State blue landscaping pebbles.

Alternative design ideas could have incorporated faux palm trees, and/or steamboat gothic extreme ornamentation.

And what about the food? I opted for the "Carnival Fries" because of their catchy name and the footlong hot dog sans chili due to the fact that I would be eating while driving (a tricky act made all the more dangerous due to the elongated size of my meal). I passed on the ice cream, which gives me a good reason to return in the summer.

All in all, Carnival Island - in all of it's authenticiy and mystique - has the potential to become a suburban equivalent of Los Angeles' famous Pink's Hot Dogs  What is needed is more experimentation with the menu, and an expanded identity (specifically it's signage & packaging is lacking).  If you're in southwest Ohio, check it out.

1 comment:

Urban Lander said...

Carnival and Island what could be better.