Bibibop Asian Grill has purchased the locations formerly operated as ShopHouse restaurants and owned by Chipotle. The expansion will more than double the number of Bibibop restaurants and includes locations slated for Washington, D.C, Los Angeles and Chicago, according to a company press release. The locations are scheduled to be converted and opened in coming months.
Chipotle announced last week that It was closing the 15-unit brand with CEO Steve Ells calling it an unattractive unit economic model,
The first Bibibop Asian Grill restaurant began in Columbus, Ohio, in August 2013, as the brainchild of Charley Shin, CEO of Bibibop Asian Grill and international restaurant concept, Charleys Philly Steaks. After successfully launching the Charleys Philly Steaks franchise and opening hundreds of locations around the world, he returned to his Korean roots and was inspired to bring the bold flavors and healthy ingredients of his native South Korea to his American hometown.
Offering healthy meals that put a fresh twist on the popular Korean dish “bibimbap," literally meaning “mixed rice," each Bibibop starts with steamed rice, followed by a choice of grilled meats or tofu, a variety of fresh vegetables and Asian-inspired sauces, Shin said.
The concept caught on fast with the company opening three more locations in 2014, eventually expanding to 12 total locations across Ohio by 2016. The company also has plans on the horizon to open its first Cleveland location later this year.
"The Bibibop Asian Grill concept has performed very well with consumers, as demonstrated by our steady growth through the years, and we’re excited to bring our fresh dining experience to more guests across the country," said Shin. "As we’ve expanded, we’ve never lost sight of our commitment to bring our signature WELL-B-ING to all of the communities in which we do business by strengthening our neighbors and enriching the lives of our team members."