The Best Places to Eat Out in a Shipping Container

Eat out to help out in a Shipping Container!

Eating out has become a bit of a luxury in 2020.  After most of the world was placed into lockdown, bars, cafes, and restaurants across the UK were forced to close.  As our favourite places to eat began to reopen the UK Government even introduced a 50% discount scheme to encourage us to Eat Out to Help Out in August 2020! Although the campaign is almost over, we thought it would be rude not to support some of the businesses who have worked so hard to survive by compiling our top 10 places to eat out in a shipping container in the UK.

Not all of these restaurants are taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out campaign, but they will still need support as the lockdown measures are lifted and if nothing else, they are all pretty cool places to enjoy a bite to eat.

BOXPARK – Wembley, Croydon, Shoreditch

Container kiosk at Boxpark Croydon

With three achingly cool locations across London, Boxpark is the World’s first pop-up shopping mall constructed from repurposed shipping containers.

“Fusing the concepts of modern street food and placing local and global brands side by side to create a unique shopping and dining destination”, Boxpark offers multiple places to grab a bite to eat across its three locations from fine dining cuisine to tasty, mouth-watering street food.

Boxpark is designed as a pop-up retail and hospitality destination.  The beauty of this concept are the affordable, flexible leases available to small independent business owners and start-ups in the capital city.  We particularly like the sleek black and white design of the containers – a strong, industrial look that works perfectly.  The container business park concept is beginning to catch on across the UK and we are beginning to see plans for more. We often share these on our social media, so keep your eyes peeled!

Boxpark businesses are offering 50% off food and drink during August 2020, more details are on their website and social media.

More information –

@Pizza, Edinburgh

Already situated in Edinburgh and Birmingham, At Pizza have announced plans to open a unique drive-thru pizza restaurant in Edinburgh using converted shipping containers.  The clever plans mean that social distancing is made simple as pizzas are ordered via the @Pizza app and brought straight to your car to be handed over safely.

Using shipping containers means that the cost of opening a new drive-thru will cost less than a third of the price of opening a traditional restaurant.  Pizzas will be available 24 hours a day and cooked at a rate of 10 pizzas per minute using super-powerful conveyor ovens.  Perfect for a post night out food stop, or even a pizza breakfast if that’s what you need!

@Pizza are participating in Eat Out to Help Out, more details are available on their website.

More information –

Battlesports Gloucester

Container cafe at Battlesports Gloucester

Back in 2017 we supplied a customised 40ft shipping container converted into a cafe and picnic space for Battlesports Gloucester.  We worked to a bespoke design and added serving hatches to a slightly dented container (which fitted perfectly with the Battlesports theme) and repainted it with their chosen shade of marine-grade paint.

Delivering the cafe container across a field was a slight concern but between some careful planning and skilled delivery driver, we had it in place in no time.  You can see it in place and read more about this project here.

Drift. Coffeehouse, North Berwick

Perched on a clifftop on the East Coast of Scotland and boasting some stunning sea views, DRIFT Coffeehouse serves freshly baked cakes and scones, brunch, homemade soup, and of course coffee.  Scottish produce is used wherever possible, and judging by their Facebook reviews, a warm welcome awaits!

Drift are currently offering eat in or takeaway menus by pre-booking only.  Book via their Facebook page.

More information –

Arabica Restaurant, Borough Market

Arabica Restaurant is a fantastic restaurant serving authentic middle-eastern inspired dishes from the heart of Borough Market.  We proudly supplied a customised 40ft shipping container to Arabica which now serves as a kitchen extension.  It was a tricky task to cut the container to a custom length, transport it through the market (getting underneath the railway bridge was an exciting moment!) and deliver it into place but we managed it with our usual aplomb!

Arabica are taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out campaign.

More information –

By the River Brew Co, Gateshead

By the River Brew is an independent container settlement situated on Hillside Quays in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.  This very cool container destination is in the shadow of the famous Tyne Bridge, and at the heart of the fantastic nightlife scene.

The converted, rust-coloured shipping containers blend perfectly into the industrial feel of the nearby Tyne Bridge, yet stand out brightly on the side of the river.  You can enjoy a refreshing, locally brewed pint from the micro-brewery and a bite to eat in the resident Trakol Restaurant which showcases “seasonal & ethical cooking with a fresh focus on preservation, dry-aging and cooking over fire”.  Have a look at their Instagram feed for a few tasty-looking pics!

Our expert team would love to work on a container project like this!  If you have one in mind and need support, you can find it at Budget Shipping Containers.

More information –

Trudy Scrumptious Café, Tavistock

Trudy Scrumptious is a charming café housed in a converted shipping container

Container catering pod at Studley High School

in Tavistock, North Devon.  Open daily, they serve homemade ice-cream, bubble waffles, cakes, and coffee from a charming timber-clad container in Tavistock Meadows Park.

Timber-cladding is a very good way of transforming an industrial looking steel shipping container into a smart, and more natural-looking structure.  This is a popular conversion option that we are often asked for – in 2019 we delivered this cladded catering pod to Studley High School in Warwickshire.

More information –

Tin Can Kitchen, Newport

The Tin Can Kitchen is run by three passionate foodies who turned a cool idea into reality in their hometown in South Wales.  Unfortunately, the arrival of COVID-19 has put the completion of their masterplan on hold for now, but their concept of converting shipping containers into high-spec kitchens to create delicious food and serve to an outdoor food court will soon be a reality.

The Tin Can Kitchen is currently operating as a delivery service but when the time is right, this venue will open into an exciting new place to enjoy great food in a very cool setting!

A further stroke of genius is to take the Tin Can Kitchen on the road!  Because it is created from shipping containers that can travel, the Tin Can Kitchen will one day be available to hire for events!  This is yet another fantastic bonus of utilising shipping containers into a food business.

More information –

The Pizza Cabina, Truro

The Cabina Family are said to serve some of the tastiest pizzas in Cornwall (you heard it here first!) and they do this from to converted shipping containers!  One is a shipping container pizza kitchen and the second holds the café style seating and tables.

The Pizza Cabina is tucked away in a quiet corner of Cornwall but word is beginning to get out about their delicious pizzas.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, timed collection and takeaway is the only current option, but hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until that second converted shipping container restaurant is able to open to the public!

More information –

Bothy Bistro, Burghead 

We have featured the Bothy Bistro a few times on our social media recently because we were inspired by their tenacity in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown.

After coronavirus restrictions meant that the owners were forced to close their existing bistro business in Moray, near Inverness they decided to push on and open a smaller ‘Bootlegger Bistro’ as a takeaway outlet using a converted shipping container and a vintage Citroen van!

Pop-up cheese toastie stand in a container

Since opening, the bistro has served over 5000 from a local caravan park and is still going strong!

We love the way this business quickly diversified to meet challenging circumstances, and it just shows how quickly a shipping container can be adapted to open a start-up business with a relatively low-cost.  We have worked on some fantastic pop-up container cafes and food businesses over the years (like this container cheese toasty stand – pictured), and we are always ready to chat through options with any potential entrepreneurs.

More information –

Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth

Our final visit on this foody shipping container tour of the UK is to Riley’s Fish Shack, a seaside fresh fish restaurant on the North-East coast.

Food critic Jay Rayner once described Riley’s Fish Shack as the “eating experience of the year” (read The Guardian review here)

Serving fresh, locally caught fish from two converted shipping containers, this small but perfectly positioned fish restaurant has amazing views over sea thanks to its glass frontage. Incorporating glass into a shipping container conversion is ideal for allowing light to flood into what could be a very dark space, and it looks fantastic too!

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, Riley’s Fish Shack is currently offering pre-bookable deck chairs on the beach to their diners, and a takeout service.  Hopefully those glass windows will be seeing visitors again soon.

More information –

If you have visited a shipping container restaurant, bar or café that we have missed out we would love to hear about it so please get in touch!  And if you are a business owner searching for a container or containers to convert into your new food or drink start-up, we would we very pleased to help. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

Image credit: Boxpark Croydon

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