Chipotle Mexican Grill will open the first West Coast branch of its ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen concept in Santa Monica in early 2013, the company said.
The nascent chain already has two locations -- one operating, one still under construction -- in Washington, D.C.
In the Los Angeles area, ShopHouse will have to distinguish itself in a booming market crammed with Asian food options stretching from the San Gabriel Valley through Little Tokyo to the Westside.
The brand operates Chipotle-style, with an assembly line model that allows for customized meals made with food from sustainable sources. Ingredients modeled on cuisine from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore include rice, chicken satay, pork meatballs, organic tofu, green papaya slaw and more.
“While building Chipotle remains our primary growth strategy, we’ve seen great interest in ShopHouse in Washington,” Chipotle founder and Chief Executive Steve Ells said in a statement. “People are liking the flavors and textures of Southeast Asian food, and we think Los Angeles will be a great market for us.”