Long Beach's Lot Offers a Wide Range of Artisan Food in an Outdoor Setting
WORDS BY: EMILY AYERS
PHOTOS BY: JORDAN DANIELS
Industrial is something most Long Beach residents are used to. With a port not far away, the familiarity of passing ship containers is an almost everyday sight. But SteelCraft in Bixby Knolls has found a way to reinvent those shipping containers while bringing the community together through artisan food and drink.
Kimberly Gros, one of the developers behind SteelCraft, wanted to use refurbished shipping containers from the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports to create a central location for counter service restaurants. Since its grand opening on Feb. 2, SteelCraft has attracted a lot of buzz from tourists and locals.
When you walk onto the rectangular SteelCraft lot, located at 3768 Long Beach Blvd., it is set up so that each of the vendors has their home in a different shipping container along the outside edges. There are two large open-seating areas in the center, and string lights hang from the awnings above the picnic-style tables. A surprisingly warm environment is created in such a modern location.
There are eight different food and drink vendors that each bring something fun and unique from – ramen, to craft beer, to candied bacon – to the table. But visitors will find more than just good food and drinks -- they’ll also find a sense of community that is hard to come by in a big city. It is the perfect go-to spot for families, dates, brunch, or even just a cup of coffee.
Pig Pen Delicacy – You’ve never had comfort food like this before. This pig pen is putting a modern twist on bacon and pork favorites like candied bacon with brown sugar and spices ($2), pulled pork nachos ($6.75), or a mac 'n' cheese bun burger ($14.27).
Tajima Ramen – Long Beach finally has authentic ramen thanks to this San Diego-based restaurant. It offers a selection of Japanese cuisine from spicy sesame ramen ($10.5), vegan ramen ($9.5), gyoza ($5), crab poke bowls ($9), or Takoyaki (Deep Fried Octopus Balls) ($5.49).
Smog City Brewing – This family-run craft brewery, with an award-winning brewmaster, offers carefully crafted beverages to pair with food or enjoy alone. Even better than the beer itself are the unique names like Mind of a Fruitcake (Red-Wine Barrel Aged), Smogcity Cuddlebug (Sour Ale/Wild Ale), Smog City Sabre Toothed Squirrel (Amber Ale), and the Smog City Little Bo Pils (Pilsner).
Waffle Love – This authentic Belgian liege waffle vendor started in a vintage food truck and has found its roots here. The freshly made dough is rolled in imported Belgian pearl sugar, and you can choose to build your own waffle or indulge in the churro waffle ($5), the Red Wonder ($8.50), or the Nutella Love ($7.50).
Lovesome Chocolates – It’s the exclusive location for Lovesome, which means to “embody sweetness” and to be “worthy of loving.” Nicole Elise Moore, a certified professional chocolatier, specializes in hand-crafted chocolates like pecan caramel bark or pumpkin pie truffles. Cups, truffles and Bon-Bons start at $22.50 per tin of six candies, and dark chocolate bark starts at $3.75 per ounce.
Desano Pizza Bakery – Preserving the century-old craft of Neapolitan pizza-making and importing the Italian ingredients, this spot offers traditional and specialty pizzas like the Lasagna pizza ($14.50) with meatballs, ricotta and more, and the White ($13) with garlic, mozzarella, scamorza, ricotta, and pecorino romano.
Steelhead Coffee – Steelhead Coffee has delicious coffee and pastries like vegan donuts and croissants. The vintage coffee shop will entertain you with its 1950s flair while you wait for a latte ($4.50), a hand-poured coffee ($4.50), or Chai Tea for ($4.50).
The Fresh Shave – Hawaii’s favorite has come to Long Beach. This barbershop-themed shaved ice shop serves a variety of unique flavors with syrups that are in-house made. All are named after a different mustache style – think “The Handle Bar” with pineapple and coconut ($6), or "The Professor" with Banana, Kauai Honey and Shredded Coconut ($6)