Bibibop Asian Grill — which opened its first Dayton-area restaurant near the University of Dayton last year and is contemplating additional locations locally — is poised to more than double the number of restaurants it operates.
The Columbus-based Korean-inspired restaurant chain has announced that it has purchased the leases of 15 closed Chipotle-owned ShopHouse Asian Kitchen locations, in Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles, which will dramatically expand Bibibop’s footprint, according to the trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News. Bibibop currently operates 12 locations — all in Ohio — including the restaurant on Brown Street near UD’s campus.
The deal with Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. for the shuttered ShopHouse locations will give the company 27 restaurants after the new locations are converted this summer, not including one more in Ohio that is in the works, NRN reported.
Bibibop spokeswoman Rachel Newbury told this news outlet earlier this month that while Bibibop does intend to add Dayton-area locations in the future, “there is nothing in the works for 2017” in this region.
Newbury’s comments came after documents filed with Washington Twp. suggested the Dayton area’s second Bibibop Asian Grill location was in the works on Ohio 725. An artist’s rendering, with Bibibop signage, was filed with the township for a stand-alone, 4,550-square-foot retail/restaurant building to be constructed at 1035 Miamisburg-Centerville Road on the northwest corner of McEwen Road and Ohio 725. The tract of land previously housed a bank that was recently demolished.
But Bibibop officials said they’re not considering that Washington Twp. site at the moment — although they also didn’t rule out considering it in the future.
Bibibop’s restaurants operate with a fast-casual, build-your-own service concept similar to Subway or Chipotle. Diners choose from purple or white rice for their bowl, or have their dish prepared as a salad or wrap, then select from two types of chicken, beef or tofu, and then top their dish from a variety of vegetables and garnishes, from pickled daikon radish to carrots to kale.
RELATED: Bibibop Asian Grill confirms new Dayton location (June 2016)