ShopHouse Bounceback: Buy a Burrito, Get a Free Bowl

ShopHouse Free Bowl

We here at 4E have observed over the years that Georgetown students — us included — love Chipotle. And why shouldn’t they? It just makes sense that college kids’ would be obsessed with a place that sells relatively cheap, incredibly filling, delicious food.

Similarly, Chipotle’s sister, ShopHouse, serves up food inspired by Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, and has been offering promotion after promotion the past couple of months.

And now there’s a new one: Every Saturday in November — starting today — if you bring in a receipt from Chipotle (for a bowl, burrito, taco or salad) to any ShopHouse location from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., you will get a free ShopHouse bowl. That’s right. In exchange for going to Chipotle — something that is a part of many people’s weekly routines — you can get FREE FOOD!

Of course, as we’ve told you before, you can make your own bowl at ShopHouse (and with a Chipotle receipt, it’ll be free!). Or you can try one of the four new “House Favorites”, which are premade combinations designed to tantalize the taste buds. So grab your Chipotle receipt from Wednesday (we know you have them) and head on over to your local ShopHouse (2805 M Street NW) to get your free bowl.


Free Food Alert: Head to ShopHouse on Wednesday

ShopHouse Free Bowl

There is almost nothing that brings more joy to a college student than the word “free.” It’s the free things in life that make us smile and jump up and down in our pajamas in the living room (or is that just me?).

So what, you might ask, is the only thing that makes me happier than something free? The answer to that is easy: Food. Free food, the two critical “F”s, are two of the most joy inducing, make-my-day words I could hear. Did you notice what happened when you read “free food”? Your mouth curled into a smile, your vision got blurry, you lost focus on anything school-related and all that was ever bad or stressful melted away. Let me repeat myself: FREE FOOD.

We at 4E have featured the magic that is ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen before. For the whole month of October the ShopHouse at 2805 M St. NW is offering free drinks to all Georgetown students, and this Wednesday (10/8), ShopHouse is having another killer free bowl day from 4 to 9 p.m. for anyone with a GOCard. I know you don’t need any more convincing to go. You’ve already added it to your calendar, started a dashboard countdown and made plans to go with friends. So what am I here for? Well, to help you channel all that excited energy into some productivity, I will help you pick an order. Let’s review how the ShopHouse menu works, shall we?

Pick a base: Rice, noodles or salad. Obviously this is not only a difficult choice but perhaps the most crucial decision you will make. Rice says, “I’m sophisticated, mature and enjoying a culturally ambiguous meal.” Noodles say, “Let’s just have some fun!” Salad pretty much speaks for itself. No matter what you choose, we respect you for making it to ShopHouse and indulging in free food. Go with your heart.

Pick a protein: Chicken, steak, pork and chicken meatballs or tofu. Just my two cents: Do not deviate from your norm here. There is never a right time to experiment with new meats.

Pick a veggie: Now this is the place for experimentation and adventure. We are looking at kale, corn, squash or green beans. Not only do they have completely different colors and flavors, they have different spice levels (can you handle the heat of the green bean?) and different personalities. Which do you pick? Whatever the moment selects for you.

Pick a sauce: Tamarind vinaigrette, green curry or red curry. Read the fine print so you know what you are getting yourself into.

Top off your bowl with garnishes and toppings. Remember to enjoy it primarily because it’s good food. But you should also enjoy it a little more because it’s free. Feel free (pun!) to go all out and have no fear. This is the time to let your hair down and enjoy the pleasure of a free ShopHouse meal.


Chipotle Meets Southeast Asia: An Interview With ShopHouse


For those of you who don’t know, Chipotle has been opening restaurants nationwide under the name ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen. Recently, a ShopHouse has opened right on M Street, and tomorrow, April 22, all Georgetown students are eligible for a free rice or noodle bowl. In other words, free food from the brains behind Chipotle. This is an offer you cannot refuse.

To learn more about the restaurant itself, 4E spoke on the phone with Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle and ShopHouse.

What is the origin of the name ShopHouse?

In some Asian cities, a shophouse is a midrise walk-up building, and people operate restaurants and fresh markets in the apartments above the businesses. It would be typical to see a shophouse in southeast Asia. In fact, that’s why it’s called ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen.

So clearly the central theme of ShopHouse is southeast Asian food. Can you describe the menu?

Yeah, the restaurant draws influence from southeast Asian cooking styles. It very closely follows the Chipotle model, but it’s rice bowls and noodle bowls. The employees assemble your bowls and you pick what you want in them. You can start with either brown rice, white rice or cold rice noodles. You can add chicken, steak, tofu, etc. Then you add sauce. We have different curries, a choice of vegetables like green beans sautéed with chili paste. You can add something crunchy, and we have little herb salads. You can check out the menu at

That sounds delicious! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

Yeah, it’s pretty tasty.

What do you think sets ShopHouse apart from other chain restaurants?

We’re driven by the same things that make Chipotle so successful. We never thought our success was from tacos and burritos. It was from our unique food culture and people culture. Our food culture uses the best ingredients, and we use classic cooking techniques. Our people culture involves hiring really amazing people and empowering them to become future leaders of our company. We could apply the same driving forces to a restaurant serving any kind of food, which inspired ShopHouse. Basically, we’re translating the same culture to ShopHouse.

I’m sure you’re aware of the cult-like following Chipotle has among college students.

Yes, I am aware.

How do you plan on translating that success to ShopHouse?

Loyal customers are the products of a compelling unique dining experience. We try to earn their visit every time they come. We’re trying to offer an experience people find relevant and compelling, genuine and interactive.

Favorite menu item and why:

Cold rice noodles with pork and chicken meatballs, green curry sauce, green beans, peanuts, herb salad, green papaya slaw, just a great combination of flavors. Everything on the menu has flavors that are bold and pronounced. The ingredients are of great quality, there’s a painstaking attention to detail… You really can’t go wrong. People have favorites and will get the same thing every time, but if they mix it up with something new, they realize everything on the menu is good.

Your personalized bowl: What’s its name?

I’m too busy enjoying it.

Can the 4E bloggers get some free swag — T-shirts, coupons?

Let me get back to you on that.

And finally, I just want to run this name for a personalized bowl by you. We here at 4E are the Fourth Edition. What do you think about a bowl named the “Fourth Noodledition”?

It’s clever! But, you know, we stay away from actual menu items and names. We just focus on making great-tasting food and giving people exactly what they want. At Chipotle and ShopHouse, we want a focused menu that produces great variety.

Thanks for talking to us Chris Arnold, and thanks for being one of those awesome people with two first names! Also thanks to Stewart Wolfe for notifying us about the free bowls in the comment section of one of our articles.

Don’t forget to pick up your free bowl from ShopHouse on M Street between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. tomorrow!


Shophouse Moving into M Street

Salad, bowl, taco or burrito? Throw in black or pinto beans. Take your pick of meat or go vegetarian. Top it with your choice of salsa. And finally, finish it off with the typical sour cream, cheese, lettuce and guacamole. Oh, and don’t forget your chips.

That’s your typical Chipotle adventure.

Now, what if you’re in the mood for Asian cuisine but don’t really have an hour and a half to sit down and be served and waited on? Well, you’re in luck. The same company behind Chipotle recently launched its Shophouse branch. Most people would throw Shophouse under the “fast casual” category of restaurants. If you really wanna think about it this way, it’s kinda as if fast food and casual dining had a baby.

The first Shophouse was opened last fall in Dupont. Word on the street is another Shophouse will be taking the space vacated by Furin’s bakery, a family-owned and operated bakery that closed last summer after 27 years at 2805 M Street.

Shophouse derives its name from the architectural style of Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi. A shophouse is essentially a building that serves as a residential apartment on the upper level and then on the lower level, houses the family’s business whether it be a family-run restaurant or convenience store. To see a real Shophouses, take a look at these 19th century Singaporean shophouses.

This “fast casual” southeast Asian kitchen boasts tastes inspired by Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese Singaporean cuisine. If all goes well, pretty soon Georgetown students can take their pick of rice, noodles or bánh mì. Choose between meat or tofu. Sprinkle on stir-fry vegetables, curry choices and garnishes and voilà, the meal is complete—quick, easy, full of variety and within the single-digits price range.

How do you feel about having the convenience of “fast casual” Asian food right on M Street?

Photo credits: The Georgetown Metropolitan