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Local Restaurant Gets into Upcycling

Posted by Reparapy On 8:34 AM
I really appreciate all the comments on the post on upcycling. I love how passionate you are about it so I am now on the lookout for different ways to discuss the subject. Be sure to send me any great items you come across and I'll try to include them as well.

I want to share a story with you about how upcycling can be done by anybody...individuals and on the corporate level. I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures. I took them with my iphone plus we had a stormy day.

I had the best lunch yesterday at Chuy's, a local Austin restaurant. There are several in town and I visited the one in Round Rock (a suburb with a true shoot 'em up history, but that's another blog!). But this isn't just any restaurant chain, it's one with a big heart. Every year, Chuy's sponsors the Children Giving to Children Parade, the city's biggest parade event. It's held in November to kick off the holiday season. Kids line up and down the entire parade route to donate toys and games so less fortunate children can have Christmas presents.

That's really cool, but their food rocks too as evidenced by the 30 minute wait we had at lunchtime! But it was not time wasted as I had a chance to chat up the bartendress, a spunky gal named Brandy. She makes a mean margarita and one of the best mojito's I've ever had. Just ask her husband, Aaron, who is over in Iraq. He's so proud of her mixology-ness that he always volunteers her skills at parties at their home! (Hey Aaron, drop me a line so we can talk about what Reparapy can do to help our stressed out folks over in Iraq...and pick out a neck wrap or scarf from our website which will be my way of saying thanks for what you do for my family and friends! Unless of course, you would prefer the bath salts, which would be just our little secret...hee hee).

So, back to Brandy and Chuy's. I was at the bar watching her do her "Tom Cruise in Cocktail" thing, pouring this, crushing that, etc. when I spotted her dropping beer bottle caps into a glass. There were quite a few...looks like we've got a lot of Saturday lunch beer drinkers in Austin! I must say, though, that it was a pretty eclectic collection of beers. I asked her what she did with the caps and she said she throws them away at the end of her shift. Yikes! I thought that surely we could come up with a way to reuse bottle caps. She said I could have them and put them in a plastic cup to take home. So we finally got called to our table and I took my little cup of treasures with me. They stared at me throughout my entire lunch. Okay, not true, because I stared at my amazing food the entire lunch. If you are ever in the Austin area -- check them out! As an added bonus, if you want to be served by a total cutie pie, ask for Miguel who was our server. He's adorable, charming, and single...

As I looked around the restaurant, I started to see quite a few examples of upcycling in use. Take a look at this picture of the ceiling filled with hubcaps. Yes, it's fun and playful, but also is used as light reflectors so they don't have to have as many actual fixtures. Barbie, Chuy's manager stopped by and let me know that it is their corporate culture to find old or discarded items and give them new life in their restaurants. As I walked out with a full belly and my cup of bottlecap treasures, I saw even more examples. Their patio furniture is circa 1950's and their tables are those old Ma Bell big wooden cable spools.

I got home and decided to look up what others had done with bottlecaps.

Etsy (a terrific handmade site) followers are all starting to laugh right now. Little did I know that when I did a search on Etsy that it would come up with 6,075 products that had been made from bottlecaps. Most of the listings were for jewelry, magnets, and hair bows. Geez, and here I thought I was a pioneer. Although the ideas were cute, I'm still thinking there's a lot more to do with bottlecaps.

So, all in all, a great lunch and kind of a bust on being the first one to discover new ways to reuse bottlecaps. But I still saved one glassful from the landfill and I plan on doing something fun with it. I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

Zara Kramer

21 Response to "Local Restaurant Gets into Upcycling"

  1. Mia Said,

    Lovely story! Good luck with the bottle caps, may you have many good ideas:)


  2. katy Said,

    Neat! Sounds like a great spot. I absolutely love the hubcaps on the ceiling!


  3. Katie Said,

    This is such a great place to eat! we have a few in north dallas and it is exactly as you said!!! Great spot to just look around and enjoy the food too!


  4. I love your blog! I upcycle all the time. I make, use, and sell wool diaper covers. I purchase them from thrift stores as sweaters! It is so fun to take one thing and make it so much cuter and more useful!


  5. nice article! I think a windchime made of bottle caps will be awesome...mmmhhh..thinking I should make some- but alas, we are wine guzzlers here--any ideas other than corkboards ? ;)


  6. secret cake Said,

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I started my own Etsy shop specifically to provide vintage and upcycled fabric, trim, buttons, zippers, etc. A majority of my sales come from other Etsy artists, and my ultimate goal is to see something I've "rescued" transformed into a unique piece that is then sold on Etsy. I trolled through your shop-- beautiful, understated products that are definitely needed! I'm sure you'll be successful.

    All the best!


  7. I've never thought of using something shiny to reflect the light and not have to use as many fixtures. Thats an awesome idea, a great way to save money as well.
    Can't wait to hear what you do with that glass full of bottle caps!


  8. GUGAW Said,

    really great ideas!


  9. Meg Said,

    What a cool spot- I'd love to hang there!


  10. I once photographed a guy who made a castle out of beer cans :)


  11. wow, the ceiling looks amazing!


  12. Modernality Said,

    Ok, now I'm really hungry after reading about this cool restaurant. Although, when I first read "upcycling" and saw the restaurant picture, I couldn't imagine how they could upcycle food... lol :)


  13. i want to find a neat design for a hummingbird feeder out of recycled stuff. any ideas? I also took an old camper trailer and made it into a chicken coop! Love my chickens! :)


  14. Ahh I keep seeing things that are just making me want to up and head to Austin immediately! Oh, and I blogged about your shop/giveaway at http://shrimpsaladcircus.blogspot.com. Thanks again!!!!


  15. cabin + cub Said,

    great story... always cool to read about local business into upcycling as well!


  16. Jeraly Said,

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  17. Jeraly Said,

    How amazing!! I am sure there must be hidden gems like that all over! Maybe you could start another etsy store for upcycled supplies?? :D


  18. I wish more businesses would follow this example. It rally is amazing what one can accomplish by upcycling! I used empty juice cartons to make 4 bird feeders the other day for my garden. They turned out great, were fun to make and they were free!


  19. What an awesome restaurant! Keep up the great blog!


  20. I'm featuring an Etsy store Ecogeneration that makes things by upcycling. You may like to check it out. :)


  21. Congrats to the current winners! Hopefully I'll be as lucky...


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