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The story behind Mulberry Street’s big renovations

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The Paloubis family, owners of Mulberry Street in Babylon, started planning for a major overhaul of the space in 2019.

And for those who’ve never been, Mulberry Street is a far cry from your typical, single-storefront pizzeria with a restaurant tucked in the back.

This was a big undertaking.

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What resulted is a gleaming new exterior for Mulberry Street, and the rest of the shopping plaza the family owns off East Main Street in the village.

Finally this fall, work on the restaurant’s full interior was completed. And the story is pretty wild, as far as restaurant renovation stories go.

Elaborate and coordinated plans for the interior of Mulberry Street were already in the works when COVID-19 struck in the spring of 2020.

Suddenly, the owners had to rethink everything. But COVID restrictions presented a “huge opportunity” as well, they told GreaterBabylon, “because we couldn’t even use the dining room if we wanted to.” 

Just the takeout pizzeria side was allowed to operate under state guidelines.

What they planned next was novel, if not a little nuts.

“When they told me what we were doing, I didn’t even believe it,” said Mulberry Street’s longtime manager, Maura Neal.

The nearly 30-year-old kitchen was sorely in need of an upgrade. But the Paloubis family needed the staff cooking for takeout if they were going to drive any revenue for the foreseeable future, and keep people employed. 

“So what we did was move the entire kitchen into the dining room, to re-do the kitchen. We had temporary plumbing put in and rented a walk-in. The dining room was now the kitchen.”

There was still one issue. The pizzeria was also slated to be revamped. The constrictions of the state’s mandated shutdowns didn’t stop that either.

Neal readily admits she was looking forward to some days off.

She didn’t get them.

“We only closed on St. Patrick’s Day, to do the tiling in the pizzeria,” she said. “Everything else was done at night.”

Now the Paloubis family has a restaurant they had always envisioned, and feel their staff and customers deserve.

Not only is the kitchen and pizzeria area all brand-new, there’s a sun-splashed foyer with a modern chandelier. The main dining area received aesthetic upgrades as well.

With the work, Mulberry Street also boasts a new bar area they’re especially excited about. Happy hour specials will be launching soon, from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

The “new” Mulberry Street opened in October.

Looking back, one thing they’re especially proud of is that they were able to retain almost the entire staff, with the help of some ingenuity — and loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.

While other places are struggling to hire people back, Mulberry Street of Babylon Village is humming.

The local favorite first opened in 1988. The 33-year-old business straddles five decades.

With the overhaul, the Paloubis family plan to stick around for a few more.

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if you go

We know everyone wants to know about the deals, so here they are:

• Pasta Night is Monday. You get a choice of $16 or $20 pasta offerings that include bread and butter, a cheesecake or dessert of the day and coffee and tea.

• Tuesday is Chicken Night. For $21 each, diners on these nights choose from a classic or specialty chicken entrée. All are served with pasta. You also get bread and butter, a cheesecake or dessert of the day and coffee and tea.

• The Wine & Day Fridays deal is simple: Two entrées and a bottle of wine for $60.

photos by Satin Widrow and Michael White