Dining out with kids can be a challenge, one that chef Clint Wangsnes discovered when he became a parent. That experience inspired the concept of Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery, which is now open on East Colfax. The original theme was for a quick-service steakhouse, but with the help of co-owner and general manager Christian Anderson, the idea evolved into the crafted menu of casual American fare, with a family-friendly focus and fast-casual structure still intact.
The certified sous-vide program lends itself to the cooking of proteins like chicken, top sirloin and short ribs, found in plated entrees, sandwiches and atop salads. The short ribs, cooked for 48 hours and served with grilled carrots and whipped potatoes, have proven to be one of the eatery's most popular items since its soft opening two weeks ago.
"Between the bread" options include a burger, smoked chicken pastrami sandwich and a French dip, all served on Grateful Bread Company products. Salads like the rocket chop—with arugula, heirloom beans, cornbread croutons, goat cheese and roasted garlic vinaigrette—come in two portion sizes. And many of the items are served on wood carving boards branded with the Chop Shop logo, which Wangsnes and Anderson made themselves in a workshop downstairs.
The menu is rounded out with an onion soup, the Walla Walla onions also getting the slow-cooked treatment for 72 hours. Desserts are the creation of the Chocolate Lab, with truffles, toffee and cupcakes to start things off. The kids' menu was also important to Wangsnes, and options include grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and fresh fruit or trofie pasta mixed with cheese and peas.
While the core proteins will likely remain, Wangsnes plans to switch things up seasonally with the spices, vegetables and plating. The digital menu boards also allow for easy changes and playing with the menu, including daily specials or soup.
And though booze is sometimes an afterthought in fast-casual environments, the list here is well-edited. Wine and beer is on tap, with choices like Infinite Monkey Theorem white blend and Natura Malbec for vino and Avery White Rascal and Ska Modus Hoperandi for brews. Wines come in 6-ounce, 8-ounce or 16-ounce carafe pours and are served in glasses made from repurposed and sanded wine bottles. There's also a Moscow Mule on tap, made with vodka, ginger-infused simple syrup, Calamansi—an Asian citrus fruit—and topped with ginger beer. Another keg is on order, with plans for a margarita.
A 20-seat patio provides additional seating to the 40-seat dining room. There are also planter boxes where kale and herbs like basil and lemon thyme are grown and used by the restaurant.
Chop Shop is located at 4990 E. Colfax Ave. and is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
· Chop Shop [Official website]
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