Chipotle opened its first Chicago area ShopHouse SouthEast Asian Kitchen locations in December, with one store opening amidst office buildings in the Loop and the other opening in suburban Schaumburg near Woodfield Mall.
The small city location features communal seating for 12 as well as window seating and outdoor sidewalk seating in the warmer months. Knickknacks like cat statues and a fountain soft drink machine adorn the space, which subscribes to the same counter service format that made Chipotle and other ShopHouse locations so famous. Diners choose a “base” — including rice, noodles or salad — then add proteins, vegetables, sauces and garnishes to build their own Thai-inspired bowls. Spring rolls are a new addition for the Chicago locations. The first ShopHouse opened in 2011 in the D.C. area, followed by an expansion to Los Angeles.