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Top 5 Coolest Restaurants Inside of Shipping Containers

By February 11th, 2014 Creative Uses 6 Comments

With principles of sustainability infiltrating businesses around the world, budding restaurateurs everywhere are looking for ways to recycle and reduce waste. What better way to show how much you care about the Earth than by forgoing traditional building methods to set up shop in a repurposed shipping container?

Not only will the inherent uniqueness of a shipping container structure give your restaurant a one-up on your neighboring competitors; the benefits of working with a portable, durable shipping container make the choice of structure ideal for anyone unable to commit long-term to their location.

5. The Container Restaurant

The Container

The Container

The Container Restaurant works out of repurposed shipping containers to serve food next to a brewery, pairing up brick-oven pizzas, sandwiches and other snacks with Ska Brewing’s beer offerings.

For a brewery in need of food but short on space, this restaurant’s container structure provided the brewers a perfect solution.  It also provided a more sustainable structure than creating a permanent building.

Taking great pride in their craft beer, the founders wanted the food served to maintain the same standard of high local quality. Knowing that food would enhance their customers’ beer-tasting experiences, they integrate their beer throughout the menu by using it either as an ingredient or to cook with.

The Container and Ska Brewing are located in Durango, Colorado.

4. El Rey Taqueria

El Rey TaqueriaPopVille

While many restaurants and retail spaces are catching on to the usefulness of using shipping containers as their main structure, one destination for tacos and margaritas is going all out. El Rey, a restaurant that just opened in Washington, D.C. in December 2013, made “anything that’s under cover” out of containers, as one of the creators told the Washington Post. So this doesn’t just include the building’s structure; it encompasses items inside as well.

The restaurant is using its container look to maintain a “rustic Mexican feel,” made entirely of recycled materials and even featuring a huge retractable roof covering 1,200 of its 3,600 total square feet.  This allows for a large area of the space to turn into a pleasant summertime patio; that can morph back into a warm haven come winter months.

Although winters in the nation’s capital can become brutal, shipping containers are well-equipped for the job of protecting people from harsh conditions. They’re made to withstand anything life on the ocean might throw at them…so rough weather conditions on land are a piece of cake. The protection the steel shipping container walls provide—with gas heaters to bring up the temperature—make for comfortable dining and drinking no matter what it’s like outside.

3. High-rise Subway Sandwiches



During the construction of the new World Trade Center in New York City, a Subway consisting of three stacked containers moved higher and higher up the building as the building grew. The sandwich franchise provided sandwiches to the building’s construction workers—and no one else. Since the slow construction elevator made getting to the ground a huge hassle for the workers, a restaurant at their level made things easy and convenient. It was a necessity, as the workers were only given a 30-minute lunch break, and the construction elevator could take as long as 45 minutes to get to the ground.

Subway didn’t have to make any sacrifices to make this restaurant fit inside of a sky-high construction site—a site for the new tallest building in New York.  In fact, its shipping container base made the necessary task of moving it up when the work moved up painless. The restaurant consisted of a full kitchen, lounge space and storage…just like any other Subway.

This Subway in the sky actually offered more food options than the other Subways around town, adding hot dogs, hamburgers and pretzels to the menu. Also, the restaurant did not charge escalated prices despite its unique position and ability to do so without losing business. Additionally, this Subway even bakes its own sandwich bread daily like all of the other Subways around town.

2. Les Grandes Tables du 104


Les Grande Tables is a shipping-container-constructed restaurant in Paris, France with a menu inspired by street food around the world.  The menu is created with locally grown produce, some from the on-site greenhouse, with a focus on fish and other organic foods.

Shipping containers do not make up the entire structure, but they do seem like somewhat of a centerpiece to the greater design. The minimalist architecture and décor demonstrate an example of the marvelous design that can be spun from simple container concepts.  This is seen widely with container homes but less so with restaurant and retail space.

Container architecture isn’t the only way this restaurant’s creator went environmentally-friendly; as mentioned, much of the food is grown in the greenhouse attached to the restaurant. Also, the seating for the eating area is made of a scrapped shipping container.

1. London’s Movement Café

Movement Café


An innovatively designed pop-up café occupied space in London for several months as part of the city-wide renovations for the London Olympics in summer 2012. The restaurant’s playful, colorful vision seems inspired by the eccentricity of its shipping container base.

The distinguishing factors of the café’s design are its bright and cheery decorative choices. The design is sprinkled with fun and quirky typography to complement its light pop-up feel. The container it is made from allows for the shop to easily open or close up and revert back to its container state—and was a big part of why the entire shop took only 16 days to fully construct.

This café stands out because of how its overall design springboards off of the shipping container base to form a place to enjoy some food and relax under the sun. Unfortunately it closed up shop on Christmas 2012, but its presence served to further expand the shipping container shop trend that is sweeping the nation.

Learn more about how purchasing a container for your food service or retail needs is a practical business decision. Look no further than Container Technology, Inc…Your one stop for shipping containers of all sizes.  For a container built to suit your particular needs…Get a quote today.

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  1. May 24th, 2017

    I am a Real Estate Broker looking for a great Restaurant idea for a vacant lot that i own. I am looking for something already designed like a Diner layout to have finished off site and delivered and dropped into place. If you have any pictures or ideas already please send. I am not a restaurant owner just will provide the building and put someone in business. Thanks looking forward to seeing what you might have.

  2. Ray
    June 2nd, 2017

    Adam, Thanks for checking us out. We can modify containers. However, our primary focus are single container conversions (like offices, storm shelters, server rooms, etc.). We are not able to convert units for restaurant applications. This article was posted for informational purposes. I’m sorry that we are not able to assist you. Thank you, Ray

  3. September 25th, 2019


  4. Chevelle
    February 16th, 2020

    Looking to purchase a refrigerator container

  5. David dintsi
    August 23rd, 2020


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