ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, the Southeast Asian restaurant developed by Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), will open the doors to its second West Coast location on Thursday, October 17on the famed Santa Monica Promenade at 1401 3rd Street Promenade. The first ShopHouse location in LA opened this summer in Hollywood at 6333 Sunset Boulevard, and there are also two locations in Washington D.C.
The menu at ShopHouse is influenced by traditional ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques of Southeast Asia, and the restaurant gets its name from traditional shophouses, a common form of architecture in Southeast Asia in which families live upstairs and operate restaurants or fresh markets on the ground floor. The ShopHouse model closely resembles Chipotle, including a commitment to serving food made with highest quality ingredients from more sustainable sources, preparing food in an open kitchen using classic cooking techniques, and serving customers in an interactive format that allows each individual to pick and choose exactly what goes in to their own order.
“I believe that Chipotle’s success isn’t necessarily based on burritos and tacos, but rather a unique system that combines our passion for using great ingredients, classic cooking methods, and an interactive service format that allows customers pick and choose exactly what they want to eat,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “Many different cuisines could fit into this model that will help to redefine fast food. I am excited that at ShopHouse we will bring to customers the authentic ingredients and flavors of Southeast Asia in a way that is entirely unique.”
At ShopHouse, guests customize their meal by choosing a base including jasmine rice, brown rice, chilled rice noodles, or salad; add grilled chicken satay, steak laab, pork and chicken meatballs, or organic tofu; a choice of various wok-cooked fresh vegetables; one of three sauces that include green curry, spicy red curry or a tamarind vinaigrette; garnish with green papaya slaw or pickled vegetables; and top with a choice of crispy toppings that include toasted rice, crushed peanuts or crispy garlic. The entire ShopHouse menu is gluten and dairy-free.
Tim Wildin, director of concept development at Chipotle, helped to develop ShopHouse from its infancy. Inspired by his Thai roots, much of the menu is based on his family’s recipes and the food he grew up eating in Bangkok, including the curries and marinades, which would eventually make up the foundation of the ShopHouse menu. “The Thai side of my family is absolutely obsessed with food,” Wildin said. “I grew up eating traditional Thai food prepared by my mom and my aunt using traditional recipes and cooking techniques. When we were developing the menu for ShopHouse, we knew we wanted those exotic flavors as the basis for many of the dishes.”
Housed in a minimal space, ShopHouse pairs the bold and complex flavors of Southeast Asia with fresh, sustainably raised ingredients, drawing on the dishes and cooking techniques of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. The menu at ShopHouse features bold, assertively spiced dishes that are remarkably light and well balanced. ShopHouse’s chicken satay is made with naturally raised chicken, marinated overnight in coconut milk, dried spices, lemongrass, and other herbs, and then grilled. Steak laab takes naturally raised beef, which is crusted in spices and seared, then tossed in a cilantro-lime fish sauce and mixed with toasted rice.
Vegetables are cooked in a hot wok, and include green beans with roasted chili jam and shallots; eggplant with Thai basil; charred corn with garlic and sesame; and broccoli with fermented chili. Priced well under $10, dishes are prepared using traditional Southeast Asian herbs and spices like galangal, lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, and chilies. Customers order at the counter, and can see directly into an open kitchen — a format similar to the one that has become a hallmark of Chipotle restaurants.
“Anyone who has traveled throughout Southeast Asia can tell you that food there is served very fast, but is also full of flavor, nutritious, and affordable,” said Wildin. “In creating ShopHouse, we wanted to remain true to these characteristics.”
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen is located at 1401 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica CA 90401; 310.382.2028. The restaurant will be open seven days a week, 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen opened its first restaurant in 2011 in Washington, D.C. Developed by Chipotle, ShopHouse draws on the unique flavors, ingredients and cooking methods of Southeast Asia, and takes its name from the mid-rise buildings prevalent throughout Southeast Asian cities where hard-working families live in apartments above the ground floor restaurants or markets that they operate. These shops serve as Asia’s version of fast food, with tiny kitchens turning out rice or noodle bowls laced with spicy sauces, marinated meats, and a flurry of herbs and vegetables. For more information, visit ShopHouseKitchen.com.
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are sustainably grown and Responsibly Raised with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and currently operates more than 1,500 restaurants. For more information, visit Chipotle.com.