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The Future is Unclear for D.C.’s ShopHouse Restaurants

The company is pulling back from the concept

Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

Things sounded rather ominous for Chipotle's Southeast Asian restaurant concept, ShopHouse during the company’s earning call with investors yesterday. Founder Steve Ells said during the call that the company "decided not to invest further in growing the ShopHouse brand," and will instead turn its attention to other concepts, like Pizzeria Locale and a new burger chain.

But what does this mean for existing ShopHouse restaurants? The fast-casual chain known for its noodle and rice bowls got its start in D.C., and has since grown to four Maryland and four D.C. locations (it also has a presence in California and the Chicago area).

Turns out no decisions have been made, according to communications director Chris Arnold, who said the company is considering strategic alternatives. "As much as we love the food and the experience at Shophouse, the economics of the restaurants are not where we want them to be, so we are exploring alternatives for those restaurants," he said.

During the call, Ells said pizza and burgers have broader customer appeal than ShopHouse's offerings, and require a smaller capital investment.

In other words, order those meatballs while they're still here, D.C.