By Katie Nussbaum | Savannah Now
Savannah being a port city, it’s not unusual to see cargo ships and trucks loaded down with shipping containers. But it’s not everyday that you see them stacked in the middle of one of Savannah’s historic neighborhoods – until now.
“We drew inspiration from other food truck parks throughout the country, but we wanted to put our own spin on the concept and create Savannah’s 25th square,” said Guy Davidson, one of the developers behind Starland Yard, Savannah’s first food truck park, which utilized nearly three dozen shipping containers around the property at 2411 DeSoto Ave.
“Our primary goal has always been to create a neighborhood spot where people congregate around food and drink. From a design perspective, we wanted to use shipping containers from both a sustainability and recycling standpoint, and also as an homage to the Port of Savannah.”
While the inspiration to use the containers came from the port, Davidson said he and his partners John Benhase, Pila Sunderland and Niko Ormond quickly realized the challenges of something so unconventional and had to think outside and inside the box to create a functional and cost-effective design.
Several containers were “Frankensteined” to create additional canopies and walls out of the surplus components, Davidson said, adding that it was truly a team effort by each person involved with the project. Lominack Kolman Smith architect Kevin Rose and Billy McIntosh of JTVS Builders were critical in converting the team’s vision into reality.
“Lominack Kolman Smith helped us create an incredible plan and JTVS Builders did an amazing job stitching the unique materials together in a way that really feels like home. Tharpe Engineering integrated structural steel into the design allowing us to customize the containers to fit our window and doorway needs and connect the building blocks,” he said.
“Jade Steel navigated through a crash course in modifying and stacking containers and exceeded our lofty expectations.”
The Yard, which sits on a 23,300 square-foot lot, includes a full-service bar with 18 taps and a cocktail list that includes frozen drinks, outdoor game area, restrooms, a rooftop deck, covered seating and of course, plenty of room for food trucks.
“Starting out, we’ll have a rotating schedule of the best food trucks in town Thursday and Friday nights, and all day Saturday and Sunday… We fashion ourselves as a kid-friendly adult playground,” Davidson said.
Housed within six of the containers is the onsite restaurant, Pizzeria Vittoria, which will be led by Savannah chef Kyle Jacovino, who was previously the executive chef at The Florence and more recently at the 1540 Room at the DeSoto Hotel.
“Pizzeria Vittoria will be serving both patrons of the park and pick-up orders, and if you haven’t had Kyle’s pizza, prepare yourself,” Davidson said.
The Starland Yard team is shooting for an Aug. 1 opening. While the total investment cost wasn’t disclosed, Davidson said the team didn’t cut any corners when it came to design.
“Regardless of cost, we took pride in salvaging retired shipping containers that had exceeded their useful life at sea and converting them into something beautiful and interesting,” he said.