Three hectares of a former shipping container wharf are being transformed into "Eat Street", a permanent hawker-style food market on the river at Hamilton in Brisbane's inner north.
The patch of land will be home to around 50 shipping containers that have been transformed into eateries with food from more than 20 countries, says director John Stainton, who is operating the site along with experienced marketeer Peter Hackworth and former TV personality Jacki MacDonald.
The original plan was to house the restaurants in tents, but strong river breezes put paid to that. Instead, some 50 blue shipping containers, some from mine sites, are being transformed for the job.
"We have everything from Mexican to Korean to Indonesian. You'll be able to get a bucket of fresh prawns or an Indian curry and they'll all be serving until 10pm. It solves the problem of where to go to eat when everyone wants something different," Stainton says.
All the food will be priced between $6 and $12 and there will be a couple of bars including a craft beer bar and a champagne and wine bar.
Stainton rolls his eyes when asked how much the precinct's huge, curved, cyclone-proof roof cost. "A lot," he concedes. "But we need it to keep everyone dry on those odd occasions we might have a shower."
Seating includes planter seats with trees, and seats and tables transformed from pallets and coil drums to retain the industrial feel.
The site, which Stainton says is quite exposed and can get hot during the day, will be open from 4-10pm on Friday and Saturday evenings only and will be transformed by festoon lighting. As to how long it will run, Stainton says they have a long lease and as far as he's concerned it's a permanent addition to the Brisbane food scene. There are also plans to use the rest of the space in the coming months for a farmers' market.
While Eat Street is opening on November 8, the space is kicking off this weekend with "Containerval", featuring free music, art, film and food, including a Mexican food container and bar operated by Jerome Dalton. Former My Kitchen Rules contestants Jake and Elle will be offering Vietnamese banh mi from another container.
Dalton, whose container space was designed by QUT students and has tables made from recycled timber and a living wall of coriander, said he was looking forward to it. "It's something completely new for Brisbane and we reckon it's going to go off," he said.
Containerval will run Saturdays and Sundays for the next three weekends, beginning tomorrow, November 2. Eat Street will be up and running from November 8. The complete program is available here.