If food-truck meet-ups were the thing in 2010, shipping containers that have been converted into commercial kitchens are the latest rage. Position them surrounding a common area, and voila! You have a foodie fort ready for invasion by hungry people.
After months of delay because of rains earlier this year, SteelCraft Garden Grove is finally open. “They couldn’t pour concrete for months,” noted Beachwood Brewing co-owner Gabe Gordon, as he faced a crowd of more than 50 people waiting to get a beer after the ribbon cutting on Sept. 26. As of now, Beachwood is the only alcohol vendor at the venue, but that will soon change with the planned addition of Wilson Creek Winery. Is two enough? We shall see.
This is the third SteelCraft, the other two being in Bellflower (15,000 square feet hosting 14 containers) and the original location at Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls (a petite 5,000 square feet for just eight vendors). The Garden Grove location boasts 22 containers in 20,000 square feet and features a rustic barn roof covering the common area, which is covered with Oktoberfest-like communal benches.
It’ll take time to get to know each vendor, so on my first visit, I went with something familiar: an insanely juicy burger from local hockey legend Teemu Selänne’s Penalty Box and a brown ale named James from Beachwood. Considering Selänne’s Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach is known for world-class meat, the burgers, dogs and poutines here came with high expectations. I didn’t think I’d actually find a seat open next to the Olympic medalist and Hockey Hall of Famer while inhaling the spongey brioche bun and thick hunk of smokey slab bacon. Though the burgers are called “pucks,” they’re anything but; imagine the juice potential of a 1/3-pound Wagyu patty with all the right sauces backing things up.
Vendors (and their Instagram handles) at the space include:
Barrio: Expect elevated Filipino barbecue dishes. (@ocbarrio)
Beachwood Brewing: The award-winning Long Beach/Huntington Beach brewery is already beloved in OC. (@beachwoodsteelcraftgg)
Cauldron Ice Cream: Creations are made in small batches—nitrogen-steamy! (@cauldronicecream)
The Chick ’N Shack: Thai-style chicken and rice is served with house-made sauces. (@thechicknshackkmg)
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters: Popular in San Diego, this is the company’s first Orange County outpost. (@darkhorsecoffee)
Honey & Butter Macarons: Keep an eye out for new flavors and beautiful themed cookies. (@honeyandbutter)
The Nest: All your early-morning, brunch and brinner favorites can be found here. (@eatatthenest)
The Penalty Box: Upscale burgers and gourmet hot dogs. (@selannepenaltybox)
Renegade Taco: The pan Latin-Asian fusion spot also offers plant-based options. (@renegadetaco)
Wilson Creek Winery: The family-owned winery brings its signature almond champagne to its first location outside Temecula Valley, with an anticipated opening this winter. (@wilson_creek_winery)
SteelCraft Garden Grove, 12900 S. Euclid St., Garden Grove, (657) 667-6165; www.steelcraftlb.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!