Simon’s Shipping Container Cafe
As a chef, I’m always interested when people turn shipping containers into restaurants. Simon’s Shipping Container Cafe — officially named Simon’s at Deep River Landing and known by locals as “The Box” — is just another in a growing line of repurposed used conex restaurants.
Located at Deep River Landing on the Connecticut River, Simon’s opened in June and has been a success ever since. It is the brainchild of local chef/restaurateur Jim Reilly, who, along with his wife Judy own Simon’s and is an offshoot of the popular Simon’s Market, located in downtown Chester, CT, as well as The Blue Oar in Haddam. Reilly has been planning a riverfront cafe for some time. And the idea for using a shipping container really clicked when he saw a shipping container on-line that had been converted container restaurant Copenhagen, Denmark. The plan finally the plan came together with the purchase of a used 20-foot conex box.
“We’ve wanted to do this for years,” said Reilly. “Shipping container restaurants are popular in Australia and England. I think there are a couple of them in New York. We’re one of the first in Connecticut.”
The box was modified by a team of metal workers, carpenters, electricians and even Reilly himself. The restaurant has a one-of-a-kind, mahogany wood bar front a fully functional kitchen. The water is self-supplied and he plugs into an electrical outlet for electricity. And the best part is that the unit is totally portable with the help of a crane and flatbed truck. After the summer season is over, the entire restaurant quickly loads up and will be transferred to a storage facility in East Haddam.
Says Reilly, “We have such beautiful waterfront areas available in this part of the state, along the Connecticut River and also at the shore, that I wanted to create this box container restaurant as the flagship representation of what could be, in hopes that I can do this in more locations in the future.”
Currently open from 11:30am to 8:00pm, the menu is similar to his Simon’s Market in Chester, featuring a rotating selection of fresh made sandwiches and salads, with the addition of staples such as the pulled pork sandwich and the lobster roll.
“This place offers one of the most beautiful views of the Connecticut River we have in this area, and we are so happy to be able to provide people with some good food to enjoy while they are enjoying the peaceful scene here. It’s a great place,” said Reilly. And indeed it is!
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Thanks to Mark Mirko of the Hartford Courant and Karena Garrity/The Courier
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