Young and Hungry

Chipotle’s Asian Spin-Off Pushes Closer to Dupont Debut

While it hasn't been much of a secret that Chipotle has been developing an Asian-themed fast-casual restaurant concept, the Denver-based chain released some additional details about what customers can expect when the first location opens on Connecticut Avenue, just north of Dupont Circle this summer.

From a press advisory:

The concept, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, is inspired by the traditional shophouses found throughout Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Shophouses are classical two or three story buildings where families live upstairs and run restaurants or fresh markets on the ground level.

The ShopHouse menu will pair the bold and complex flavors of southeast Asia with fresh, sustainably raised ingredients; grilled and braised meats, a variety of fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs, spicy sauces, and an array of garnishes. Customers will move along a service line and customize their meal according to flavor preference and diet, in a format similar to the one that has become the hallmark of Chipotle’s success.

“I have always believed that the Chipotle model would work well with a variety of different cuisines,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. "Chipotle’s success is not necessarily about burritos and tacos, but rather about serving great, sustainably raised food that is delicious, affordable, and convenient."

"Anyone who has traveled throughout Southeast Asia can tell you that food there is served very fast—it’s also full of flavor, nutritious, and affordable," said Ells. "This cuisine gives us a great opportunity to prove the idea that the Chipotle model can work with other cuisines."

Does Chipotle have its eyes on Greek cuisine next? If so, it may want talk to the folks at Cava Grill in Bethesda...

Logo courtesy of Chipotle

  • Mario

    "... is inspired by the traditional shophouses found throughout Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam." Give me a break. It's part of one of the biggest chains in the country. How exactly can they translate a family-owned small business into a franchised crapfest? Pure corporate BS.

  • Lydia

    This sounds like Sticks 'n' Bowls on Connecticut Avenue! Man, I miss that place.

  • Jaredd

    Nah, it'll probably just be more like asian wraps and salad bowls. It's all still rice and meat, just with a different flavor profile. You know, like Merzi is just a Chipotle that sells Indian food.

    Corporate won't stray too far from a proven concept.

    And while I liked Sticks n Bowls, I much prefer Chop't

  • http://www.capturingpenang.com/ CapturingPenang

    I like the name. Since Penang, Malaysia has the most shophouses in Southeast Asia, and is famous for Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Nyonya dishes, maybe the new chain will bring more of these diverse flavors to the US market.

    Can't wait to give it a try.

    Here are Penang "shophouses" if anyone is curious:

    http://capturingpenang.blogspot.com/2010_06_24_archive.html

    Thanks,

    Reese & Mark

  • C.K.

    I think that people need to stop criticising things that they really have no clue about. How can people be so quick to judge when they probably haven't even done their research. Let the place open and let your stomach and your mouth be the critic. Open yuor minds up to change. Is this the reason why everyone is so stuck up and closed minded?

  • DMC

    I tried it today. It is basically separately precooked stuff in a bowl with some sauce on it, and it wasn't all that great or special. It's the same concept of other places that do that (Noodles & Company comes to mind), except they use curry sauces. Example, cold rice noodles, grilled steak (and only a few small pieces at that) some grilled corn, some garnish slaw and some chopped nuts and some curry sauce. That's it and they charge $7.50 for that. If you like the concept of leftovers in a bowl, which is exactly what it tasted like... go for it.

...