WASHINGTON — Jerry Tong, a 21-year-old Annapolis, Maryland, resident who calls himself a huge lover of Chipotle Mexican Grill and its build-your-own Asian spinoff ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, is chronicling ShopHouse’s final days on Instagram by eating there every day until the restaurant closes its doors.
Chipotle is closing all 15 of its ShopHouse locations in Washington, Chicago and Southern California March 17, six years after opening the first location in Dupont Circle, because the concept has not performed as it had hoped.
“Ever since the opening of ShopHouse, it has hands down been my favorite restaurant of all time as it brings a unique mix of flavors from Thailand to Vietnam,” Tong told WTOP.
“I have never loved a restaurant so much and to see it go will be a sad farewell, so I have made it my mission to enjoy the last seven days.”
Tong, who works for a food health and wellness company, says he is not affiliated with Chipotle Mexican Grill, and is apparently just a major ShopHouse fan.
His Instagram account also is profiling one ShopHouse employee a day.
What’s his favorite ShopHouse meal?
Salad with brown rice, triple chicken, green beans, squash and Thai basil, charred corn, green papaya slaw, pickled vegetables, topped with fresh peanuts, crispy garlic, toasted rice and green chilies with a combo of peanut sauce and spicy red curry.
He said his favorite ShopHouse locations are The Mall in Columbia and Dupont Circle.
In his free time, Tong said he lives a healthy lifestyle through powerlifting, playing baseball, traveling, going on scenic hikes — and eating Chipotle.
There weren’t enough people like Tong for Chipotle to continue investing in the Asian brand. In October, the company wrote down virtually all of the value of the ShopHouse brand.
You can follow Tong’s final ShopHouse meals (there aren’t many left) on his Instagram account.