Chop Shop Closing Original Denver Location on Colfax | Westword

Chop Shop Closing Original Colfax Location on April 7

Since its 2014 debut, Owner Clint Wangsnes has added locations in Lowry and Englewood, and soon he'll open another in Broomfield.
Chop Shop has been open on Colfax for a decade.
Chop Shop has been open on Colfax for a decade. Chop Shop
Share this:
"It's very sad to see it go. We built that one from the ground up, and it was our first location. It was a tearjerker when we told the staff," says Clint Wangsnes, who opened Chop Shop at 4990 East Colfax Avenue a decade ago.

Now its run is coming to an end. The restaurant will close after service on Sunday, April 7.

"We're at the end of our ten-year lease and the landlord wants to double our rent," Wangsnes explains. "We've been negotiating for the past seven months. ... We've been grinding along, hoping we were going to get a renewal, and it just didn't come through."

When it debuted, Chop Shop brought something new to the scene: fine-dining-level food paired with a fast-casual business model. In the years since, that approach has become more and more common at spots like MAKfam and the recently reopened Dio Mio.

The original goal of Chop Shop was to be a family-friendly place with high-quality food, and that's exactly what it delivered. Fan favorites include one of the best takes on French onion soup in town; the 48-hour slow-cooked short ribs; and the signature burger.
click to enlarge short ribs over mashed potatoes topped with carrots and crispy onions
Chop Shop's 48-hour short ribs.
Courtesy Chop Shop
But COVID brought a big shift. "Unfortunately with the pandemic, people started to really rely on us for takeout and delivery — it's really what we're known for now. It took away a lot of our dine-in business. We're still doing similar revenue, but nothing close to what dine-in was," Wangsnes notes.

Because of that, he's hopeful that his Colfax customers will continue to order takeout from the nearby Lowry location, at 200 Quebec Street. Chop Shop also has a location in Englewood, at 3150 South Broadway, and in mid-April, it will add another in Broomfield. "It gave us a lot of comfort and ease knowing we wouldn't have to let our staff go — that we can offer them positions at the new location," Wangsnes says.

But even with the excitement surrounding another opening, the loss of the Colfax shop hits hard. "A lot of the locals there have really come to rely on us," he concludes. "That's our busiest store; it's our flagship, for sure. It's definitely bittersweet." 
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.