This booming Korean restaurant chain is taking over where Chipotle left off
Chipotle recently shut down its Southeast Asian restaurant chain, ShopHouse.
Now a new restaurant chain is moving into ShopHouse's shuttered locations: Bibibop Asian Grill.
The Columbus, Ohio-based chain is taking over the leases at ShopHouse's 15 closed locations in Washington, DC, the Chicago area, Maryland, and Los Angeles. The locations will open in the next couple months after being converted in Bibibop restaurants, according to a news release.
See photos of the chain: See Gallery
The chain's expansion into ShopHouse's many prime locations could lead to explosive growth for Bibibop, which launched in August 2013 and now has 12 locations in Ohio.
Bibibop serves different varieties of a popular Korean dish called Bibimbap, or "mixed rice."
To start off an order, customers select between white rice, purple wild rice, lettuce, or tortilla wraps.
Then they can add a selection of proteins and vegetables including grilled chicken, steak, or tofu, as well as bean sprouts, black beans, sauteed potatoes, cucumber, shaved carrots, cheese, eggs, and corn.
Customers can also select between a variety of sauces including spicy sriracha, Korean red sauce, teriyaki, and "yum yum" sauce. Sides include edamame, kimchi, and miso soup.
Bibibop gets rave reviews on Yelp, with an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Customers describe it as fast, healthy, and "packed with flavor." Many compare it to Chipotle.
"The space itself is very clean and modern — you'll instantly think, 'oh, yeah, it's like a Korean Chipotle,'" one reviewer wrote.
Another said, "The Chipotle of Asian fusion is the best way to describe this place. It's the first place I think of when I've got to grab something quick... I've never been disappointed, my food is always fresh and the staff is always friendly."
Customers also say it's reasonably priced. In Columbus, Ohio, a bowl with chicken and unlimited toppings costs $6.75, according to one customer.
The chain was founded by Charley Shin, a native South Korean who launched Charleys Philly Steaks in 1985. Charleys now has more than 500 locations worldwide.
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