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All photos by Darrow Montgomery

In light of recent news that Chipotle will no longer be investing in its Southeast Asian offshoot, and instead will focus on pizza and burgers, we asked loyal and first-time ShopHouse Dupont Circle customers for their thoughts. While there’s no set shutter date for the fast casual eatery that allows people to build rice, noodle, or salad bowls in assembly-line fashion, there won’t be any further growth of the chainlet that has both a cult following and its fair share of haters.

“It’s cheap. I like the flavors. Of course I’m going to miss it. I usually come once a week. I usually eat it over two days. In my bowl I have half salad and half white rice. I’m eating it all today because I don’t want my last ShopHouse … to be reheated ShopHouse. I wanted to save some calories, so I got half salad to be good. I’ve got meatballs, squash, beans, and peanuts, and the red curry sauce.”

“I’m there every time something is free. I’m just playing. They just sent out a new promotion this week. They used to have a BikeShare thing. That was awhile back. It’s fresh. It’s fresh. I do the chicken, the rice, the string beans, the squash, and the corn. I tell them to put extra veggies.”

“I love the peanut sauce. It’s fabulous. And they throw extra garlic on top of my chicken. It’s amazing.”

“I moved here three and a half months ago and I’ve been four or five times. The Chipotle model is convenient. If I’m being honest, when it was closing I was like, ‘this isn’t the worst thing in the world but it’s nice to have variety, customize what you’re eating.’ You just mask everything with sriracha. There’s not really a lot of flavor. If we’re going to be really honest, the bathroom aftermath of ShopHouse is not great. So I’m not particularly broken up about it. I’m going have one last meal, some meatballs before it goes down. If we have places like Cava, do we really need ShopHouse?”

“I’m kind of bummed out. My company just moved around the corner, so this is the second time I’ve been here this week. Two years ago I worked somewhere there was no ShopHouse nearby. Before that for a number of years I worked at a company that had a ShopHouse down the street. I went two or three days a week. I get the chicken bowl with rice and stuff. If they raise their prices, I think all of my peers we’d continue to eat here even if it was two dollars extra. I’m surprised they’re not making the kind of money they were looking for.”

 “We just moved here about two months ago. We were in Germany and didn’t have ShopHouse. I started coming because of the library promotion deal this past month, and they just gave us a buy-one-get-one coupon, so we came back. Today I got a meatball wrap. It was pretty good.”

“I just saw it on Yelp. This is my first time. I like Southeast Asian food. It’s not super authentic. It’s an attempt to do Chipotle-style Asian food. I really like the Lao place, Thip Khao. I’m from Taiwan, but I lived in Southeast Asia.”

“This is my first time. It was pretty good, it tasted good. It’s like Chipotle but not. I made this myself. The ShopHouse bowl had rice, but I prefer the noodles. I got the green beans because they looked very good. They’re a little spicy, but it was good. This is maybe my first and my last bowl. It’s a shame.” 

“I got noodles, steak, pickled veggies. Are we all concerned it’s closing down? I wouldn’t be sad. It’s consumerism as anything else. It’s just quick, cheap food. I’m not that attached to my food, I guess. It just keeps me going. I’m good at making lunch for four days of the week and not five, so I need the fifth one and this is it.”