Trouble for Chipotle’s Surprisingly Delicious ShopHouse?

by Prince Of Petworth October 25, 2016 at 6:59 pm 38 Comments

2805 M Street, NW RIP Furin’s

Been getting some sad tweets from folks lamenting the demise of ShopHouse. Business Insider reported:

“That means Chipotle will likely shut down or try to sell the ShopHouse chain, which has 15 locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Illinois, and California.”

ShopHouse’s first location opened in back in Sept. 2011 at 1516 Connecticut Ave, NW in Dupont. You can see their menu here.

  • s.patrillo

    Who is surprised?? It was a pseudo-Thai/Asian Chipotle, with not many vegetable options, IMHO. You are paying a lot of money for a bowl filled with mostly (cheap) rice or noodles, plus a scant serving of veggies, some meat and more (cheap) veggies at the end (pickled papaya or the other one..). Just too pricey and not that exciting, honestly.

    • Welshi

      You are completely wrong, but that’s okay. First, customers get all the toppings (pickled veg, papaya salad, and herbs) they want. They also have a salad option and you can always do half salad (good crisp nappa cabbage, and spring lettuces) with half rice/noodle (which is great). You can also opt for only vegetables and get two heaping spoonfuls of two different kinds (I’m hoping they bring back the kale before they close). Also it’s under $8- I dare you to find something that filling for that price anywhere during lunch in DC. Cava, Roti, various sandwich shops are all going to cost at least that and are not as healthy for you (minus the salt, a lot of the sauces at Shophouse are salty, but fishsauce is good for you).

      Shophouse is the best.

      • maxwell smart

        This must vary by location, because the one in Union Station is nothing as described above. I went there a couple of times before getting on the train and each time I wished I had gone somewhere else – stingy with vegetables resulting in a half-filled bowl, which was fine, because veggies were mushy and bland. Most of the sauces contain fish sauce, so they are not vegetarian.

        I’m also not sure how you think Cava is less healthy ?

        • Welshi

          2 of the 4 sauces are vegetarian.

          I’ve calculated the nutrition of both places on multiple options I usually order (the chicken or the double veggie) and Shophouse is over 100 calories less, 7 grams less fat, and actually 200mg less sodium, 7g more protien (with chx). Now maybe I shouldn’t get tzatziki, humus, and eggplant, and perhaps the shophouse calculator is less accurate, but it says it’s healthier in most aspects.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            You should be getting the crazy feta!

  • Sa

    I tend to agree with what you say. In my view the concept could have been done much better. I personally would have preferred – any day – a well done version of the ShopHouse concept (e.g. Don’t over-cook the veges beyond recognition; keep the food hot enough – at Union Station shopHouse, the food is tepid at best in terms of temperature; put enough staff on to keep that line moving; tell me about the origin and quality of the “meat” in those mystery meatballs….) – would have much preferred ShopHouse done well than any burger, pizza or Chipotle meal… the ShopHouse website also wasn’t an easy medium thru which to provide feedback either …. think they could have done a much better job to reach out to the market they pretended to be courting.

  • Rachel

    I can’t believe it! Shophouse is the best, tastiest, and cheapest food to arrive on the DC food scene in years. I hope they change their mind and keep a few open!!

    • Anonymous

      “best, tastiest, and cheapest”
      It can’t possibly be all three of those. That’s an impossible trinity.

      • dcgator

        But…but…it is all three of those. Which is why I will be DEVASTATED if we lose Shophouse. Please, oh please, bring back my Shophouse to me (I know it’s not gone yet, just being dramatic for effect).

  • lm

    shophouse is way better than chipotle itself imo

  • meerswan

    I really really wanted to like ShopHouse, but the food was disappointing, even for the price. The noodles seemed like overcooked spaghetti. i’m no expert, but those noodles didnt seem remotely SEasian.

  • maxwell smart

    Not a huge surprise. The few times I went I was pretty disappointed. There are significantly better options in the fast casual scene.

  • FreeFoodEater

    Well maybe they shouldn’t have given away thousands of free bowls to people just for having a library card or capital bikeshare…

    • Nathan

      Ha. While it was good I can honestly say that 5 out of the 6 times I ate there was when they had free promos.

    • Anonymous

      They took a page from the Chipotle playbook and tried to kick up demand by giving away food. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for Chipotle after the Salmonella/E. coli/norovirus outbreaks, and it is unlikely to work for ShopHouse either.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Is that true? Because every Chipotle I have ever been to is always packed at lunch. Maybe out in the burbs it is still an issue, but I have seen no decline in Chinatown or 5th and K.

  • wpk_dc

    ShopHouse really is amazing! I do love the food as a relatively healthy, inexpensive, and tasty choice. Naysayers, where else downtown can you find a similarly good quick food option for about $7.50 per entree? Not many places. But I’m fine if Chipotle sells the chain as long as the buyer sees the value and keeps it relatively the same. Or tries to improve it. (I’m a regular ShopHouser but I did take advantage of the free entrees on Tuesdays with library card three times this month, including yesterday. I’m thinking that if they do plan to see, that’s a great way to prime up the awareness of the brand pre-sale.)

  • Reality

    Booooo! I hope it’s saved.

  • jumpingjack

    I wonder if it varies a lot between locations? I’ve always been happy with the original location in Dupont. It’s declined a little in quality in the past year or two, but not that much.

  • anonymous2u

    Shophouse was awesome, really really bummed!

  • AdMoRez

    ShopHouse had a lot of potential, and for those of you complaining it was full of carbs, you can get a salad and no rice/noodles which I did. I think the main problem is, it’s just so damn salty. The type that makes you drink water every 2-3 minutes and to to the bathroom every 10 minutes. It’s actually really tasty with plenty of heat and interesting toppings, it’s just that they layer it all with sodium on top of salt, and it’s a suupperr salty bowl even without the delicious sauces they have in there. I feel like I am going to get a stroke when I eat one, it’s as salty as a salt lick. If they dial down the salt/sodium by half, I think it would help A LOT.

    • anon

      So you’re saying it’s too salty?

  • n

    Wow, this is written in a slant with a biased view of the place. I actually found ShopHouse mediocre at best. Our area is saturated with fast casual options but this one was pretty average IMO

  • DCbyDay

    Disappointed by this because I do like Shophouse… hopefully someone picks up at least the local ones.
    Seems like they are focusing growth outside of cities to small town/suburban markets… DC (and other large cities) are littered with similar pizza & burger joints. Don’t see how their option could cut through the already crowded space here.

  • Belinskaya

    I’m not surprised that they’re pulling the plug on ShopHouse as a chain. I’ve enjoyed the food, but I do think the flavours and spicing are too complex for the “Middle American” and family markets. Chipotle has options for bland and inoffensive that ShopHouse just doesn’t. That fact limits their growth as a chain. Also possibly that a number of people don’t want spicy curry for work lunch and have to head into a meeting after.

    I hope someone buys them out, because I like ShopHouse, but I wondered from the beginning how viable it would be, especially in cities without the skewed costs of DC and NY (cheap Thai in Chicago when I lived there in 2003 was $8 for a curry; in DC at the same time, $12 – that makes market entry harder since the price differential is less). There’s no shame in running a regional chain unless you were gunning for national growth from the beginning. I hope someone who is willing to run a regional chain steps up.

  • A

    At least for Dupont, there is Triple B Fresh right across the street. It’s a couple bucks more but the food is far superior. The indoor seating is limited compared to ShopHouse, but their large patio is great when the weather is right.

  • stacksp

    Disappointing. I really like ShopHouse. Reasonably priced and a pretty healthy lunch option.

  • skaballet

    Dang it. How did I miss the free bowl Tuesday in Oct. Sigh…..

  • k.parker

    This is sad news. I love the Gallery Place Shop House, and as someone who has Celiac disease (I get were a small population) this is one of the only places I can eat where I don’t have to alert the waiter, risk cross contamination or be ‘that person.’ It’s the best.

    • me too!

      Agree – fellow celiac citizen here. I was alarmed when they introduced the wraps, though! I hope they sell, and that the buyer keeps them (mostly) GF!

      • Jen

        Me three! Loved being a celiac there and being just like everyone else. The egg rolls and wraps concerned me though that’s for sure.

        Hoping a solution can be found!

  • SF

    Shophouse is/was offensively bland. Low quality food that they practically begged you to smother in sriracha just to give it any real flavor. The only thing surprising about this is that so many people actually seemed to like it.

  • Rich

    Better than Chipotle and frankly better than the tourist Thai that people here think is wonderful. Most of the DC locations seem to do ok. They also do decent lunchtime business.

  • Dupont Dude

    Tom Yum in Rosslyn is essentially the same concept, done better. You’re welcome.

    • dcgator

      Except…it’s in Rosslyn.

  • anony

    Not surprised AT ALL. The only times I went were during the free Bikeshare promos and I thought it was good, but not better than SO many food options and not something I would crave/pay for.

  • Craig

    I’m not sure how ShopHouse is seen as delicious. Everything I ever had there was burnt, oversalted, and too spicy. I wanted to like it, but it just wasn’t ever good.


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