BlogCustom Trailers

Top 10 Trailers of 2019: #1: Prudential Rooftop Pop-Up Restaurant Airstream Trailer

As 2020 hits full stride, we are completing our look back at a few of our favorite custom trailers from the past year. Of course, we will never discount the everyday trailer sales that are the meat and potatoes of our business, but the big marketing trailers that require extended fabrication are what really make us proud.

Over the last few weeks we have featured the first six of our top 10 countdown of our favorite custom trailers of 2019 as voted on by our employees. Now it’s time for the top four.

From the sales team to the admin team to the service team, every person may or may not have played a direct role in each trailer along the way, but each person has played an important role in keeping the business going, providing excellent customer service, and getting trailers back up and running quickly, which is something to be celebrated.

#10 – National Grid First Responders Training Trailer
#9 – Harbor Hill Mobile Wine Bottling Trailer
#8 – Illini Tailgate Trailer
#7 – Spiderz Batting Gloves Mobile Retail Trailer
#6 – Hudson Boat Works Marketing & Mobile Repair Trailer
#5 – The Lash Bar Mobile Lash Bar Trailer
#4 – Kroger & Dare to Care’s Zero Hunger Mobile Market Trailer
#3 – Kroger Treasure EmporiYum Mobile Tour Trailer
#2 – Florida Blue Mobile Healthcare Consultation Trailer

#1 – Prudential Rooftop Pop-Up Restaurant Airstream Trailer

Coming in at No. 1 in our Top 10 Trailers of 2019 countdown is the Airstream trailer that we gutted and fabricated into a pop-up restaurant for the Prudential Plaza roof deck. We love this trailer because it was a high-profile project for one of the city of Chicago’s top developers and a long time in the making.

We don’t often work with Airstreams, but when Sterling Bay approached us about putting one on the roof deck of Chicago’s first post-depression skyscrapers, it was an opportunity we could not pass up. 

As one can imagine, the process of getting from concept to reality with a project of this scope was lengthy and full of red tape. It’s not as simple as placing a trailer onto a roof 150 feet above Michigan Ave. and calling it a day. The city of Chicago required the trailer to be permanently affixed to the rooftop, which meant disassembling the Airstream’s frame and fabricating an entirely new frame that would turn atypically mobile trailer into a stationary one.

The next challenge was the functional purpose of the trailer: building a full kitchen from which a chef could cook and serve food to the tenants of the building during and after work. Our fabrication team installed a three-piece cook line, refrigerator, prep space, and air conditioning into the tiny Airstream while still leaving space for the chef to function.

The third challenge was the process of getting the trailer up to the roof deck. It had to happen on a Sunday morning when that area of the city had the least amount of traffic, and thus, have the least impact on traffic and the surrounding businesses. It also had to happen on a day with low wind, which is easier said than done on the Chicago lake front. Permits had to be obtained to shut down Michigan Ave. and Randolph St., and a helicopter had to raise the trailer high enough to clear the building’s edge and then lower it into its proper place. It was a tense situation with no margin for error.

Since the trailer was being lifted by a Sikorsky S-58T helicopter, the trailer itself couldn’t weigh more than 4,500 pounds. Kitchen equipment is heavy and our team had to remove a few items in order to get the weight to comply.

On lift day, random passers by were treated to an unexpected show, prompting amateur video, a thread on Reddit full of speculation, and it even got media attention from 95.9 FM The River and 101.9 The Mix’s Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip. 

Once the trailer was in place, our fabrication team then had to finish the kitchen installation while complying with all city building codes and regulations in order to get it ready to open.

When all was said and done, Federales Tacos & Tequila took over the Airstream with a grand opening on July 24. Throughout the summer and fall, Federales served up tacos, salads, chips, salsa, guac, and a wide variety of drinks out of the Airstream during lunch and post-work happy hours.

While the roof deck is closed for the winter, we can’t wait for the Airstream to begin operating again come spring. If you are interested in a custom trailer, whether an Airstream or not, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 630-524-2029 or email to get the conversation started. 

Share This

Subscribe to our blog for valuable tips and resources delivered right to your inbox.

More From Our Blog