The long-awaited ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen is scheduled to open in Los Angeles on Monday, the second location systemwide and the first of three West Coast locations planned by parent Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. this year.

Members of the media were invited for a preview of the restaurant on Wednesday. The unit is located in the heart of Hollywood, not far from the iconic intersection of Sunset and Vine.

ShopHouse debuted in late 2011 in Washington, D.C., and the Denver-based company spent more than a year tweaking the menu and concept. Though the second ShopHouse unit was originally supposed to open in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, construction delays there allowed the Los Angeles unit to open first.

The ShopHouse in Georgetown, as well as another West Coast location in Santa Monica, Calif., are scheduled to open in July. A third is planned for Los Angeles later this year in Westwood, and the D.C. area will see the addition of three more, for a total of eight units on both coasts by mid 2014.

Company officials say the reaction to the brand so far has been positive. “We are very encouraged by what we are seeing,” said Tim Wildin, Chipotle’s director of concept development, who is a principle in the development of ShopHouse.


Wildin said his mother is Thai and he spent many summers in Bangkok, where traditional shophouses — two- or three-story buildings where families live upstairs and operate restaurants on the ground floor — are known for serving fresh, delicious food to customers on the go.

“This is the food that I grew up with,” said Wildin. “It’s really fresh, vibrant, wholesome and nutritious, but it’s also served in seconds.”

The fast-casual ShopHouse aims to do for Southeast Asian cuisine what Chipotle did for Mexican food. The service model is the same as Chipotle, with guests walking the line to create their meal, and the food is based on sustainable ingredients and prepared in open kitchens.

Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-chief executive of Chipotle, has long argued that the success of the Mexican brand was not necessarily based on burritos and tacos, but on “a unique system that combines our passion for using great ingredients, classic cooking methods, and an interactive service format that allows customers to pick and choose exactly what they want to eat.”