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A KFC franchisee turned a former bank in rural New York into ‘the most beautiful KFC in the world

On May 3, KFC opened one of the most impressive restaurants in its 25,000-location portfolio in Painted Post, New York.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

KFC repurposed the Chemung Canal Trust Company bank building into the “Crystal Bucket,” named for its large windows.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The name and floor-to-ceiling windows are an homage to next-door neighbour Corning’s reputation as “The Crystal City,” for glass company Corning Incorporated and the Corning Museum of Glass.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

“Distinctive and original, just like the iconic bucket, this new KFC features a unique design fitting for a region known for innovation,” VP of marketing activation for KBP Brands Tonya Mangels said in a statement.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

Aside from the main atrium, everything about the building had to be repurposed to accommodate a fast food restaurant.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

The whole building had to be stripped from its days as a bank to be turned into a restaurant.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

About 70% of KFC’s US sales are through drive-thrus, so developer KBP included an updated drive-thru in the new design.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

Though it’s not a double drive-thru, it’s clearly updated with clean lines and wood accents.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

The drive-thru is more than just functional.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

It also shows off the “American Showman” update that’s been rolled out in other KFC locations, both new and retrofitted.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

Source: Nelson Worldwide

The design is intended to “celebrate the legacy of Colonel Sanders while also bringing his down-home values and showmanship to life,” designers at Nelson said of the American Showman branding.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

Over two-thirds of KFC’s restaurants are now decorated in this style.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

The contrasting red, white, and black are eye-catching from the street…

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

…though of course not as eye-catching as the massive windows.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The sign felt very classic KFC though, with a drawing of Colonel Sanders.

Mary Meisenzahl Insider 

Every sign and piece of the exterior is a way to hammer home the KFC brand, which is all about tasty chicken.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The windows are stunning, and also provide ample real estate for photos of fried chicken to lure customers inside.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

I especially liked the tiny details outside, like this painted KFC rock.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

I finally went inside, curious to see how the bank interior had been transformed.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The design was very busy, with signs posted in every possible space.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

Colonel Sanders was everywhere.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

There was absolutely no danger of forgetting where I was, or why I was there.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

I was struck by the sketch-style image of the Crystal Bucket on the wall near the entrance.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

It felt very unique to the restaurant, which I liked.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The design played off of the building’s history as a bank.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

My favorite detail was the repurposed vault door, now used to protect the Colonel’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The floor-to-ceiling windows brought in plenty of light.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

They made the whole restaurant feel more elevated, definitely nicer than the average fast food stop.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The ceiling and lighting were the most surprising details that I wasn’t anticipating from the outside.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The cathedral wood ceiling and hanging lights wouldn’t feel out of place at a much more formal restaurant.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

Somehow, though, it fits perfectly with the windows and the classic Americana KFC design, and all came together.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

Workers told me that the windows require frequent cleanings to keep them looking pristine.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

They looked basically spotless during my visit.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The restaurant had several other aspects of KFC’s updated next-gen designs.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

Source: Insiderhttps://f191b969dd472a5209c7ba5b325d5909.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

There was a pickup window right next to the counter for mobile orders placed on KFC’s app.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

When restaurants do have these pickup shelves they can sometimes be hard to find or seem almost hidden, but this KFC had a large, lit-up arrow making it clear.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The back area of the former bank, which had lower ceilings than the rest, was converted into the kitchen.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

Source: My Twin Tiers

In addition to digital menu boards, another digital screen displayed information about where the chickens were from and who was preparing them.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The atrium area seats about 40 people in the 2,500-square-foot space.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

There was a mix of standard height tables, booths, and taller tables with stools.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

KFC’s collaboration with Jack Harlow was impossible to miss, thanks to signs everywhere.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

A drawing of Harlow’s face was even on my cup, in the same style as the drawing of Colonel Sanders, which I found a bit unsettling.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

We ordered two Big Bucket meals, which each came with sides and drinks.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The chicken tenders are great, but I always love KFC’s sides most.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

There was also a Mountain Dew flavor exclusive to KFC, though I stuck with my standard Diet Pepsi.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

The sweet tea was also tempting.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

Overall I was very impressed with the Crystal Bucket, which looked even better in person than I’d expected.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider 

I definitely haven’t been to every location, but I understand why it’s called the most beautiful KFC in the world.

Article Source & Credit: Business Insider

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