We Can’t Contain It!

We met with Breck and Katie on a dreary, rainy January and shared our vision for a new space in downtown...of course we did it over a beer at Pigeon Hill! 

We met with Breck and Katie on a dreary, rainy January and shared our vision for a new space in downtown...of course we did it over a beer at Pigeon Hill! 

When we realized we had to tear down the building and start from scratch we knew we had an opportunity to do something incredibly unique and exciting.  We wanted to do something that not only stood out but also had a small footprint.  I originally went to college on an architectural engineering scholarship and grew up loving architecture.  While I didn’t pursue that career I am still fascinated by the field, particularly anything that is really connected to its surroundings or is repurposed in a clever way.  So when we were thinking of how to build Nipote’s it wasn’t too far out of the box for us to consider upcycling.  We sat at a table of one of our favorite local restaurants, grabbed the crayons and started hashing out the first rendering of Nipote’s.  

Our very first sketch... 

Our very first sketch... 

This is when we thought about using shipping containers.  Originally, the design had a few containers, a courtyard and a bocce court with fun lighting strung between the buildings.  Once we bought the property the “rendering” became a little more refined and we found a way to build it with a couple of shipping crates and the next rendering used the kids coloring pages, craft paper and some well placed bottle tops.  They would move tables and ask where their host stand would be and as a family we’d imagine what Nipote’s could look and feel like.  

This rendering repurposed bottle tops and gobstoppers! 

This rendering repurposed bottle tops and gobstoppers! 

When we decided to make a purchase and found the property our search for a partner that specializes in shipping container architecture began and we hit the jackpot!  After looking at companies across the US it was clear that first and foremost there are very few shipping container restaurants, particularly full service and secondarily, not a lot of construction companies specialize in this.  We started looking at an amazing place in Miami called Charcoal Grill and Bar which is an industry leader in container architecture and frankly, one of the best restaurants/venues I’ve visited (I promise to do a blog on my trip there because I was blown away by the building, the food, the vibe and most importantly the crew-including the owner that dropped by to give me a tour!).  I also admired a new construction project in Detroit, The Detroit Shipping Company that will have a number of containers, many food vendors and a bar.  After lots of research we connected with the construction company that was working on the Detroit Shipping Company, Three Squared Inc.  We explained we were a little smaller of a project but we loved the energy of the team and they loved the idea of our project and from there we moved from crayon and bottle tops to real renderings and plans.  We knew the next step would be a challenge, to have the city see our vision, creating a restaurant out of shipping crates...something that very few places have done before but it all felt perfect.  We’d found a company that was Michigan based that could create a vision of this incredible space that used upcycled materials.  They came out to meet us on a rainy January day, we walked through the space and took them to Pigeon Hill in hopes that they’d really understand who we were and what we wanted to bring to downtown Muskegon.  We are happy to say that our time together has resulted in a little bit more professional rendering and we are even more excited to share that the city sees our vision as well and has approved the plans!  There is more work to be done-lots more but we’re excited that on Earth Day we get to share that Muskegon will be home to an incredible upcycled project!  If you want to be one of the first to see the real renderings sign up for the newsletter on Nipote’s home page (click the Nipote’s icon at the top of my blog page) where we’ll share these soon!  We are so excited about this project coming to Muskegon...we can hardly “contain” it!