If you’re a fan of the customizable burritos, tacos and salad bowls from Chipotle Mexican Grill, then you’ll be especially thrilled with ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, Chipotle’s much-hyped Asian spin-off.
Chipotle Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells says that the ShopHouse concept was born during a two-week eating spree in Thailand and Singapore last year.
“I was very inspired by Southeast Asian food and the fact that it would lend itself to the Chipotle format,” Ells, 46, told Bloomberg News in an interview this week.
At ShopHouse, you won’t be offered burritos or tacos, but instead customers choose between rice and noodles topped with ingredients such as grilled chicken satay, organic tofu, pork meatballs, Chinese broccoli and eggplant. According to Bloomberg News, the bowls go for $6.50 to $7.50, compared with $7 to $8 for a Chipotle burrito.
While we haven’t sampled any of the menu items for ourselves, a preview to Fortune reporters included grilled steak with chili-jam marmalade, roast corn with scallions, Chinese broccoli, pickled vegetables — all served over brown rice, plus green papaya salad on the side.
While the first restaurant in Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle came together relatively quickly, Ells does not have any more locations planned at this time. Even so, Peter Saleh, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group in New York, told Bloomberg News that he estimates ShopHouse may grow to 50 stores in five years.
Chipotle, which operates more than 1,100 U.S. stores, has seen significant growth in sales over the past year, with sales increasing at least 20 percent for the past five straight quarters.
September 26th, 2011