Matt Logan is a living archetype: the undaunted builder who remains dedicated to his creation. His Smoky Park Supper Club in Asheville will soon be one of the nation’s largest restaurants built entirely out of shipping containers. Logan, who also owns 5 Walnut Wine Bar downtown, began his quest to create the 3,800-square-foot eatery using 19 shipping containers in 2011, when he purchased a derelict, Brownfield-designated patch of land in the River Arts District.
Logan’s plan was locally unprecedented, and although shipping container restaurants are springing up around the country, the technology used to transform them into comfortable spaces is still new. Plus, few container projects rival the size of Smoky Park. Despite the challenges, the restaurant will open in early 2015 with a breezy, sunny dining room, a massive deck, and an excellent view of the French Broad River. The building is outfitted with a mostly wood-fired kitchen that will serve casual, hearty fare designed by Mark Rosenstein, acclaimed chef and founder of the nonprofit jobs training program GO Kitchen-Ready.
The two-acre property that surrounds the eatery will provide green space for picnickers and put-ins for boaters. An open-air venue, the Boathouse, has already hosted fund-raisers and other events. The site also serves as a launching point for river cleanup efforts, and the nonprofit Asheville GreenWorks receives free office space in one of the refurbished outbuildings. The goal, Logan explains, is to create a hub for river fun where once there was only blighted land.