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A Wynwood Yard-style entertainment hub packed with five shipping-container restaurants and a mural-splashed street makeover is busy transforming one of Hollywood’s gloomiest downtown drags – Tyler Street – into a nightlife destination.
Yes, that Tyler Street: The one-way, westbound thoroughfare where you had to park when you couldn’t park on Hollywood Boulevard. That Tyler Street: Home to the Bank of America parking lot, a sea of unisex salons and law firms in gray, Brutalist office buildings.
Now Shipyard, a new outdoor dining village docking this Saturday, Oct. 2, is bringing Mexican street tacos, doughnuts, cocktails and live music to this unlikely stretch a block north of the Hollywood Boulevard hullabaloo.
First, you should know that Shipyard, at 1924 Tyler St., occupies an oddball space: a former alleyway-turned-parking-lot, all of 25 feet wide and 120 feet long, wedged between two office buildings. The hangout takes its name from the refurbished shipping containers that will house five restaurants here: Ikkaku, a shop serving mochi doughnuts, boba teas and ice cream; Bean & Rose, a cafe offering pastries and sandwiches; La Muerte Street, a Mexican street taqueria; Galley Meat Fare, an American bistro with burgers; and Posie’s, a craft-cocktail bar.
The entertainment hub, which took $850,000 and two years to build, is the invention of married restaurateurs Carlos Zuluaga and Sarah Price, and longtime Hollywood developer Jack Jafarmadar, who wanted something – OK, anything – other than more office space on Tyler Street.
They’re so bullish about Tyler Street’s potential, they want to transform it into a restaurant row to rival Hollywood and Harrison.
“Hollywood didn’t need more shared offices,” says Zuluaga, 33, who also runs a bakery, the Little Sugars, on Harrison Street with Price. “It needed something to get people to drive from Fort Lauderdale or Delray, in the same way that people treated Wynwood Yard as a destination. If I opened a mochi doughnut place downtown, it would have been just another shop. This is a whole party experience.”
A yellow metalwork figure with arms outstretched greets visitors on the sidewalk outside Shipyard, which is resplendent in market lights, bamboo dining tables, sky-blue walls and nautical murals of psychedelic seaweed. About 50 hand-painted planters suspend from black steel trusses overhead, and the rectangular alley’s asphalt has been dressed up with 1,000 brick pavers stretching from Tyler Street to a rear parking lot directly behind the Greek Joint restaurant.
Shipyard finished its build-out last week, Zuluaga adds – with help from a $50,000 Building Improvement Grant from Hollywood’s Community Redevelopment Agency.
One big perk for the project: Shipyard is self-sustainable. Plant-covered gutters running down the walls channel rainwater into several wooden rain barrels, which in turn water the hanging plants and refill the bathroom’s water supply. Solar roof panels will soon be installed so Shipyard can power itself.
“The whole point is to improve Tyler Street,” Jafarmadar explains. “[Shipyard is] a crucial ingredient for what a vibrant downtown needs, in line with younger people’s mentality, which is to be more sustainable, more environmentally friendly, more laidback.”
The arrival of Shipyard comes at an auspicious time for Tyler Street, with Hollywood’s CRA spending tens of thousands of dollars to beautify the road. Notably, the city’s Tyler Street Sidewalk Mural Project this June added four playful sidewalk murals from local artists along the three-block stretch between North 21st Avenue and Young Circle.
Hollywood’s busiest restaurant rows are so packed with restaurants that many have started migrating north to Tyler – with some gentle encouragement from the CRA, says Lisa Liotta, the agency’s redevelopment manager.
“We’ve been seeing more people filling up the commercial space on Hollywood and Harrison, and much of it is gone,” Liotta says.
From alleyway to Shipyard
When Jafarmadar bought the alleyway in July 2019 for $260,000, it was really his daughter Mana, 28, who talked him out of turning it into another office building on Tyler Street. He says Mana visited an urban hub with shipping containers in Oakland, Calif., and gushed about bringing the idea to Hollywood.
“At first I said no, and then Mana and my other daughter ganged up on me. ‘Dad, you really need to listen to what we’re saying,’ ” Jafarmadar recalls. “When I started listening to them, it really made sense. It had to be a trendy destination.”
But Jafarmadar didn’t want to steer Shipyard alone, so he asked Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy and Liotta for vendors willing to put restaurants inside five shipping containers. The city’s CRA director, Jorge Camejo, recommended Zuluaga and Price, who also run a food-hall café, Bean & Rose, at Sistrunk Marketplace in Fort Lauderdale.
“I see us as an entertainment venue first and a restaurant incubator second,” says Price, who signed a six-year lease. “We learned a ton about what it takes to run and be part of a food hall, and we’ve got the chance to do the same thing with five different restaurant concepts at Shipyard. And [Jack Jafarmadar] gave us total freedom, so we’re got 20-30 private events lined up here.”
Zuluaga says he has the green light to open Shipyard, but he still awaiting permits before he can serve food and drink from the 10-by-8-foot shipping-container eateries.
Shipyard customers can either order from QR-coded menus on their dining tables or from the restaurant itself, and food runners will deliver dishes to their table. All meals will be cooked in a separate 12-by-6-foot shipping-container kitchen parked in the back of the property, equipped with a gas grill and ventilator hood, plus deep fryers and a rotating vertical broiler for carved taco meats.
Zuluaga says he parked the kitchen there for strategic reasons. One of them: to provide a delicious-smelling buffer between the entertainment hub and the less-appealing odors from the alleyway dumpsters behind Shipyard.
“When its cooking food for dozens of people, it will definitely overpower any smells from outside,” Zuluaga says.
If Shipyard is successful, the metal framework above is sturdy enough to support an expanded second story of shipping-container restaurants, Price says.
“I’ve been a business owner here for five years. I didn’t think I’d ever have a reason to go to Tyler Street,” Price says. “But now I think it’s the future.”
A Tyler Street renaissance?
Shipyard may be Tyler Street’s splashiest anchor tenant, but other restaurants and art have shuffled onto the one-way street, the CRA’s Jill Weisberg says. Weisberg is curator of the Tyler Street Sidewalk Mural Project, designed to beautify Tyler with block-wide sidewalk murals.
Visitors will notice colorful transformations to Tyler Street’s north and south sidewalks. Local artist Andrew Hayes’ block-wide sidewalk mural, between 20th and 21st avenues, is an outer-space wonderland of cartoon astronauts, planets and other creatures. Across the street is Eduardo Mendieta’s mural of an underwater scene.
Between 19th and 20th avenues is an interactive yellow-brick road mural filled with mazes from Art Squad, the artist collective of Marene K. Downs, Heather Neiman and Stephanie Leyden. Across the street, C. Heidi Walsh’s coloring-book mural lets visitors add their own illustrations with sidewalk chalk.
The arrival of the murals this summer, around the same time as Shipyard, is a serendipitous coincidence, Weisberg says.
“It was, to quote Bob Ross, a happy little accident,” Weisberg says. “Tyler Street doesn’t get that much action, so why not try to piggyback on all the new development? Here is a lot less expensive than Wynwood or South Beach.”
Here are all the new restaurants, cafes and lounges that have debuted on Tyler Street this year:
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Kitschy Cat Shack (2108 Tyler St.; 754-736-5208, KitschyCatShack.com) This cat lounge, pet-supply boutique and “one-stop shop for all things cat” features gourmet treats, toys and other items to pamper your feline.
Verocca Bakery (2031 Tyler St.; 754-210-6148, Facebook page) A Scandinavian coffeehouse and kosher bakery, Verocca sells Nutella croissants, fruit pastries, fresh breads and desserts.
Drastix (1920 Tyler St.; 954-998-2248, Drastix.com) Drastix features 10 different kebabs from steak with pearl onions to pork belly with eggplant. There are also build-your-own bowls (flavored with 10 in-house sauces), plus non-skewered shareables like mac ‘n’ cheese bites.
Cuban Café (1657 Tyler St.; 954-899-3014): The café, which debuted Sept. 9, makes up for its nondescript name (and lack of website) with a tantalizing menu of ice cream-filled churros, banana splits, empanadas, Cubanos and cured smoked salmon sandwiches.
Roasted Bean Café (1739 Tyler St.; Instagram page): A new café on the ground floor of the Circ Hotel by Sonder, Roasted Bean serves Panther Coffee, Zak the Baker bread, as well as fresh muffins, croissants and bagels.
Shipyard, at 1924 Tyler St. in downtown Hollywood, will open Saturday, Oct. 2. The first event will be an 11 a.m. cake-decorating class. Go to ShipyardHollywood.com.