Out of the Box

A collection of shipping containers is home to some of the quirkiest restaurants on Fourth

Longtime friends and Tucson natives Eric Rogers, Kyle Knudsen and Brenden Scott were in Amsterdam about a decadeago, when they came across a coffee shop made entirely out of shipping containers. Knudsen, who runs a design firm that specializes in shipping containers, immediately got inspired and wanted to take the concept back home with him. But where? And how?

The answer: Right smack dab on North Fourth Avenue, where the trio have opened The Boxyard.

But given that they were setting up on a dirt lot, there were plenty of hurdles, including a long list of government permits along with new infrastructure for plumbing, electrical hookups and the like. It took about eight years for the project to come to fruition before it opened in May.

"Most of the owners mortgaged their homes or even sold them to finance their dream," Boxyard manager Travis Langdon says. "It took that long and that kind of dedication to get to where we are now."

The Boxyard is basically the ultimate hangout with a full bar equipped with a rotation of craft beers. At times, Langdon will get a one-off allocation from a beer vendor that may not be available to other spots across town—essentially, a sneak peek of a product that may (or may not) make it to bars elsewhere. So if you're the adventurous sort, pop in on occasion to see what's on tap as you relax on the only two-tiered lounge on Fourth Avenue, overlooking the Catalina Mountains or the shimmering heights of downtown Tucson.

Come for the drinks, but stay for the food. The Boxyard currently houses four diverse concepts serving late-night (or early, early morning) chow. Longtime local favorite Nhu Lan delivers always fresh and tasty Vietnamese cuisine. The Bronx BBQ serves New York-inspired slow smoked ribs and pulled pork. If you need a bacon-wrapped burrito in your life, Percheron Mexican Grill is there for you. And Indian Twist will satisfy your curry cravings.

And while The Boxyard is outdoors, the summer heat isn't all that bad. When I was there, the temperature had been in the low triple digits, industrial fans and water misters cool down the space.

"I had a patron last night asking if we could turn the fans and misters off," says Langdon. "The tables and shaded area in the center of them gets to around 75 degrees, even if it's 100 out. People actually get cold here. In the summer."

The team here plans to offer pop-up art installations in the upstairs modules, as well as more murals. The main splash, created by local muralist Joe Pagac, is just the start.

Dogs are welcome at The Boxyard and if you don't want to share your table with your hound, there's an enclosure in the back to let them run to their doggie heart's content.

Guest DJs spin chill R&B and old-school hip hop during the day while on some nights, bands play under the large canopy across from the main bar.

All this, and The Boxyard doesn't even charge a cover.

Yet! ■