Shipping Container Street Restaurants

street restaurants

As a result of modern globalization, shipping containers are being used more than ever around the world. However, after they arrive at their destinations, many are stacked up and left unused. This has led some people to find other uses for these durable, versatile containers as building materials.

Recently, shipping containers have been used for housing, hotels, farms, and more. (See Porta-Stor’s other blogs on these topics here.) These structures range from permanent, beautiful designs to temporary and mobile conveniences. Yet another way people are using them as a building material is for shipping container street restaurants. A major benefit of these designs is that they can fit in small spaces that regular buildings cannot and can be set up quickly when needed.

Aprisa Mexican (Shipping Container) Restaurants

Aprisa is a set of Mexican restaurants originating in Portland, Oregon and owned by Kirk Lance. Lance eventually wants to spread his vision of providing quick and delicious food through environmentally friendly means across the country. His restaurants would come as modular units in shipping containers that include all the basic equipment required to set up a street restaurant. They could be placed in parking lots or vacant areas near locations with high demand. The unit just needs to be connected to utility lines and could be up and running within 2 days after arrival!

You can find more information about Aprisa and how their current restaurants go green on their website.


Shipping container restaurants have several benefits. As mentioned before, they can be set up quickly and easily in locations that regular restaurants cannot squeeze into. Their mobility allows for them to be set up where they are needed when demand arises and then moved to a new location if no longer needed in that area. This is great for locations that have seasonal restaurant needs.

Shipping containers are durable and modular. It’s relatively easy to alter them to meet the needs of the situation. A designer can use a single unit for a small area or combine several together for a larger, more permanent structure. The interiors can be finished in the same ways as normal buildings, with drywall, metal, wood, carpet, cement or other types of walls and floors.

If the shipping containers were previously used, they have the added benefit of being recycled into a new purpose rather than sitting around collecting dust. These days, running a business with environmentally-conscious methods is a huge bonus, helping the earth while drawing in more customers.

Because of these pros, even large chains have started using shipping containers for some of their locations, including Starbucks and Taco Bell.


Unfortunately, shipping container restaurants aren’t without their downsides. Although the initial cost of a used shipping container is low (usually less than $3000), there are many other costs involved with setting one up as a restaurant. The tough metal needs to be cut to include windows, doors, and utility lines. Insulation needs to be added, and finishing the interior can cost quite a bit of money.

The work to convert a shipping container into a usable building requires workers who are experienced with the medium and know what they are doing. The material is tough and space is limited.

Another downside to shipping container buildings is the size limitation. This is good for setting up a building in a small area, but it also severely limits the amount of space inside the structure. Even when multiple containers are combined together, they are not as versatile as a building designed from scratch without having to be made from size-regulated boxes.

It can also be difficult to acquire the correct permits for shipping container restaurants. These buildings are relatively new, and many areas don’t have specific permitting laws for them. Inspectors might not know how to go about examining the structure to make sure it’s up to code and safe, leading to a lengthy and confusing process. One advantage that modular buildings have when it comes to permitting is that they can be given an OK on the state level and then only require a simple utility check after they’ve been shipping elsewhere around the same state.

Some difficulties can arise when trying to set up a shipping container street restaurant, but overall there are many benefits. They use recycled materials, are quick to set up, have the ability to fit into small spaces, and can easily move to other locations when the need arises. Keep an eye out for shipping container street restaurants near you in the future!