Inspired Food in an Inspired Space
If you’ve been following our adventure you know that we are about to build the first full service restaurant constructed out of shipping containers in West Michigan. When we began thinking about upcycling our building we looked for others that had done the same thing. We were surprised at how few container architecture projects we could find in the US although there were many overseas. With some savvy internet searches we saw the Container Park in Las Vegas, the Detroit Shipping Company that is still under construction in Detroit and Charcoal Garden Bar + Grill in Miami. Charcoal had such a great look and vibe that I was just drawn to it. I read about their concept, fell in love with their story and frankly drooled over their menu. When work brought me to Miami, I was thrilled that I might get the chance to see this incredible space. I left a comment on their Instagram page (@charcoalmiami) and they messaged me to ask why I was coming to Miami and when I shared that we were planning to build out of modified containers they were awesome, and said to ask for the manager when I came in.
Pulling up to Wynwood Yard where Charcoal is located was surreal. I wandered through the shipping door gates and stepped up to the ornately tiled bar where I ordered a spritz Aperol and explained that I was looking for the manager. Not only did everyone greet me with an unbelievable hospitality but Ken Lyons, the inspired Chef Owner of Charcoal came down to meet me and offered me a tour! Again, I was in awe of the space but what was even more incredible was walking the restaurant with Ken who was so casual and willing to share advice and tips. We toured the dining area which has a beautiful open air courtyard, the extra space which has served as a market and the incredibly efficient kitchen which was constructed out of two containers and houses the Josper grills on which they cook everything. I ordered the octopus and chorizo and it was so flavorful and cooked to perfection. The entire staff came by to say hello and asked about our little project in West Michigan offering well wishes and Ken dropped his card and told me to reach out if I needed anything. They recommended that I checked out “the Yard” so I grabbed my drink and ventured around the corner to find a live band on stage, a wonderful little jewelry shop that was also made out of shipping containers, a slew of food trucks and a huge outdoor bar serving a full range of drinks and craft beer. There was a row of container gardens on either side of pic nic tables filled with people hanging out in this effervescent space. The vibe was so inspiring, music playing and people eating, drinking and gathering. I noted that there were very few phones out, there was a genuine connection between people and I had to consciously snap a few pics to share with Jeff. Our space and menu are very different from our Miami based friends but we hope to give you all a space with wonderful food, an atmosphere that inspires connection and an energy and hospitality that keeps you coming back to our table.
In the mean time of you happen to be visiting Miami, I recommend making this a stop, tell them Nipote’s wife sent you.