The Muvbox: The New Cheap Expensive

Muvbox kitchen, pizza oven and standing area
The Muvbox is the brainchild of entrepreneur and restaurateur Daniel Noiseux. He has drawn on his love of design and background in architecture to repurpose objects so that they are used for something other than their original intention. With a critical eye for functionality, Noiseux has taken used shipping containers and transformed them into solar-powered canteens. At night, the entire unit can be shut down, reverting to a shipping container in just two minutes. The beauty of this concept is that no building permit is required, and the unit can be transported by land, rail or sea. What's more, Noiseux and his team outfit units to the owner's specifications, and they can also be made into art galleries or pop-up stores.

Certification and licences for the shipping container
Specializing in lobster rolls from the Magdalen Islands, the original Muvbox in Montreal opens annually on May 15. Last week, my husband and I went for lunch at the Old Port to check out this incredible feat in design. Initially, I was not disappointed. As incredible as it may seem, in addition to the five staff members working inside the container, there was also a pizza oven. Psst...Noiseux has also been credited with bringing the first pizza oven to Montreal in 1981. In addition, there was a standing area with tables for people who want to eat on the run on one side, and a terrace on the other for those who want to eat with a view of the Old Port.

As I walked around the container and checked out the government certification on the metal container, my husband ran into our friend Francois, who was having lunch with some colleagues. When I asked him about his lobster roll, I got a one word answer, "Bof!" Not what I call a ringing endorsement. I went to place our order, and was stunned to find that the lobster rolls cost $9.00 each. If you order two, add a can of Coke, the tax and a tip, you have a bill for an astounding $25.00, for two very average lobster rolls.

I assumed that if I chose to eat food prepared in a refurbished solar-powered shipping container, which does not require a building permit, that overhead costs would be low and, thus, food would be relatively inexpensive. I also erroneously believed that with Mr. Noiseux's extensive background in running high-quality restaurants the food would be good. I don't think I would have minded the price so much if the food had been better.

We can only assume that we were paying for the design...which is worth a look! You just might want to eat before you go.

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