Lawyer gives London a taste of Manhattan

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When lawyer Zan Kaufman quit her day job and left New York in 2012, she cooked up a tasty idea that’s since turned into a booming burger business called Bleecker St. Named after a popular thoroughfare in downtown Manhattan, Zan’s burger joints and food trucks are now the talk of London.

When she started Bleecker St, Zan wanted the best of both worlds: a good location in London’s hip Shoreditch and the flexibility of a mobile burger-vending kitchen. Inspired by the burgeoning food truck scene she’d left behind in New York, Zan used a 20-foot recycled shipping container for the build.

In its former life, Zan’s container was used for loading and unloading oversized cargo, so it had cargo doors at one end and doors along almost the full length of the container. Shipping containers with full side access are perfect for pop-up kiosks because the ready-made entrance can save on bespoke conversion costs.

Inside the shipping container conversion, staff prepare and serve food. The compact layout includes a grill, electric fryer, milkshake maker, draught beer taps and two refrigerators – and there’s still enough space for a team of five to work.

An aperture was cut on the front wall of the container to create an additional serving hatch so that food orders can be taken from the side of the converted shipping container and then served to customers from the end near the seating area. The container was re-painted in matte black to match the company’s signature black and white branding.

Another container outpost popped up last year under Hungerford Bridge on the Southbank. The space consists of a benched seating area framed by two converted shipping containers. The first container offers all the Bleecker St. basics, including burgers, fries and shakes, while the second container is all about beer.

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