Did you know that approximately 6.8 million 20- to 40-foot cargo container units, known in the shipping industry as TEUs, pass through the port of Long Beach each year? The lifespan of these containers is short, averaging between just 4 and 12 years. So what’s to be done with all those useless containers? Some might see that as a challenge. Others, like Kimberly Gros, see opportunity, and a chance to turn an empty dirt lot into somewhere people can gather. Her development group purchased 10 containers and had them fabricated to city standards, and kitchens were built according to the needs of each vendor. The result? SteelCraft, an entire food court made of cargo containers, now open in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. Visitors can have everything from appetizers to desserts and all courses in between. There are plenty of community tables and seating, so gather up your besties and head to SteelCraft to experience this truly unique food court.
3768 Long Beach Boulevard
Hours vary and depend on vendor
Here’s what you’ll find.
The Torrance-based, family run craft brewery has set up an outpost at Steelcraft. Featuring 20 draft beers on tap, you can order by the glass or by the growler for take home enjoyment. Beer flights are available if you’re being adventurous or just can’t make a decision. Be sure to try their award-winning Coffee Porter or their SteelCraft IPA.
Ramen has gotten super hot in the dining industry and Tajima lives up to the hype. Started in San Diego in 2001, the menu is a little limited in comparison to the mother ship location, but there’s still plenty to choose from. The broth is just the right amount of flavorful, not too salty, and the noodles don’t disappoint. You’ll need to have patience when ordering, as ramen does not like to be rushed!
What started out in November 2013 as just a run down food truck and a handful of recipes has turned into six trucks and eight restaurants. How’s that for rapid growth? It’s also evidence that the folks at Waffle Love know what they are doing. Chicken and waffle seemed to be the favorite the day I visited, but give me The Red Wonder any day of the week – biscoff, strawberries, raspberries and cream, all on a perfectly cooked waffle. Yum!
Expanding from their minimalist first location in Long Beach, Steelhead Coffee is offering the same friendly customer service and on-point coffee in all its many forms at their location in Steelcraft. They offer a wide range of specialty coffees made from some really well-sourced beans that will have you coming back for seconds. And thirds.
Moving to the mainland from Kauai, Hawaii, The Fresh Shave, not to be confused with a place you go to get the beard trimmed up, is serving up some tasty shaved ice. They use organic ingredients and local farm fresh produce in all their products – no high fructose corn syrup or artificial coloring in sight – and simply use the purest ingredients they can find. Their shaved ice is hand cranked and all of their syrups are homemade as well.
Locally made and handcrafted by Nicole Moore, Lovesome Chocolates is tucked away in a cute little space at Steelcraft. Be sure and try her dark chocolate bark – it’s a little spicy, salty, savory and sweet all at the same time – as well as her cayenne caramel if you’re looking for something with a little kick to it. She’s also putting out some mighty tasty bon-bons and truffles.
If you’ve ever visited their Santa Ana location, then you know what to expect from this Long Beach outpost of the popular restaurant. Two recommendations you just have to try: Pork Belly Sliders with pickled daikon, hoisin sauce and creamy cilantro, or the Jam Burger with bacon Jam, havarti cheese, chive aioli and fried onion strings on an all-beef patty. For dessert? Candied bacon, of course!
Looking for a truly unique pizza that’s unlike anything you’ve had delivered by a harried driver before? Then you need to get to Desano Pizza and try one of their Neapolitan pizzas. Using imported Italian ingredients and hand-kneaded dough, each pizza is made to order and cooked in one of their world-famous Acunto ovens for a quick 90 seconds. You’ll be blown away how good a pizza cooked in this manner tastes.