One of Denver's best fast-casual success stories over the past few years has been Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery, which was opened at 4990 East Colfax Avenue by chef Clint Wangsnes and his business partner, Christian Anderson, in 2014. While the original concept of serving white tablecloth cuisine in a counter-service environment seemed daring at the time, especially along a transitional stretch of Colfax, neighbors from Park Hill, Hale and Montclair took to the family-friendly place almost immediately. And Chop Shop followed up with a Lowry outpost in early 2017.
Now Wangsnes says Chop Shop is ready for a third sibling, and he's chosen South Broadway in Englewood for the new location. "We looked all over Denver for more than a year, and we couldn't find anything close to what we wanted," the chef explains.
But then the old Speedy's used car dealership at 3150 South Broadway came to his attention, and the property felt perfect for his restaurant's footprint and an expansive patio for additional seating. "We took over the building last September and got fully permitted two months ago," Wangsnes says.
The old dealership comprised two buildings attached by a breezeway, but the chef says his contractors have already gutted them and popped the roofs, and will connect them into one restaurant space. Construction has been slow because of recent snowstorms, but he expects the pace to pick up and is now targeting mid-May for the opening.
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The floor plan will be a cross between the Colfax and Lowry locations, with an order counter in front of an open kitchen and a small dining room. The patio will be weatherized for year-round use and will be much larger than those at the other two Chop Shops.
The address puts the restaurant close to the Gothic Theater and the rest of downtown Englewood, which is experiencing a surge in new restaurants and bars. Wangsnes says part of the reason for choosing the area is because it has been so under-served in years past, and new families in the surrounding neighborhoods are looking for options nearby.
Keith Haddock, who has been at Chop Shop's Colfax location for the past couple of years, will serve as chef de cuisine at the new restaurant. Expect the same menu of upscale beef, chicken and fish dishes, entree-sized salads, and well-made burgers and chicken sandwiches. And since Wangsnes uses sous vide cooking to coax additional flavors out of meats and vegetables, Chop Shop's unbeatable 72-hour Onion Bliss soup will continue to be a draw.