It's easy to get addicted to Chipotle. No other Mexican chain inspires us to refer to guac as "extra" or to order burritos without meat. Chipotle is almost ubiquitous in our culture, but did you know that it has other restaurants? Check out these chains that you would never expect to be owned by Chipotle.
Chipotle partnered with Pizzeria Locale in 2011, an Italian wood-fired pizza shop with seven locations in the US. The interior of the restaurant is similar to Chipotle because of its fast casual setting. Pizzeria Locale serves 11" pies that are the perfect size for sharing and can be made with either red or white sauce.
If you're heading to Pizzeria Locale, try the Mais White Pizza (a ham and corn topped pizza with a créme Fraiche base), or the Red Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza. Any pizza can be customized with gluten-free crust or gourmet toppings like pork meatballs, broccolini, and Calabrian chiles.
I have been to both flagship locations in Boulder, and I would 10/10 recommend. I have never tasted better pizza in my life (sorry to Timber Pizza at the Georgetown Farmer's Market), and its Budino (butterscotch pudding) and Nutella Pizza are dessert goals.
If you are ever in Boulder, Denver, Kansas City, or Cincinnati, I would definitely hit up Pizzeria Locale for a quality slice. Who knew Chipotle could dominate the pizza world?
Tasty Made reminds me of that old style diner in the movie A Cinderella Storygreasy American food with a classic charm. The menu is simple: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, and shakes. Instead of Shack Sauce at Shake Shack or Animal Style at In-N-Out , Tasty Burgers are garnished with a creamy Tasty Bacon Sauce.
Currently, you have to go to Lancaster, Ohio if you want a Tasty Burger. The burgers do look yummy, but I personally ride or die with Shake Shack, so I don't think I'll make the switch.
Don't get excited about this last one. Chipotle just announced that it is closing all 15 of its ShopHouse locations in California, Illinois, Maryland, and D.C. on March 17. The chain models itself as a Southeast Asian kitchen and its cuisine draws influence from Malaysia, Thai, and Vietnamese flavors. ShopHouse is a fast casual restaurant that serves up rice, noodle, or salad bowls with various meats, veggies, sauces, garnishes, and toppings.
ShopHouse has always been on my list of restaurants to try in D.C., but I never had the chance to go. Although now that I know it's closing, I might try to check it out. If anything, to see the man chronicling the last week of ShopHouse on Instagram in the flesh.
So here's the lowdown: you most likely missed your chance on ShopHouse, but you still have time to enjoy Pizzeria Locale and Tasty Made. I know that Chipotle is the OG, but these offshoots have some potential and totally prove the Mexican chain's dominance in the restaurant industry.