The long awaited Chop Shop Salads on Market Street between Fourth & Fifth Streets opened its doors Monday and has seen crowds lining up out onto the sidewalk every day so far. We stopped by at closing time today to avoid the rush and had a chance to talk with owner Brad Vetter about the establishment. He said business has been extraordinary so far, and he’s seeing a substantial repeat clientele.
This January, a stop work order halted the project marking the beginning of a tenuous relationship between the new restaurant and the city. It seems the city wouldn’t give them any breaks. A new facade garnered the stop work sign as it wasn’t approved. The city claimed the old facade, once home to a shoe repair store, was an art-deco landmark that had been destroyed. In fact, the old facade had no historic or aesthetic merits and even covered up the 19th century building’s original cast-iron columns. While the new facade is no feat of architecture, it shouldn’t have been drawn out into a historic preservation battle. In the end, a compromise was reached to put stickers on the front glass, but it set the project back two weeks.
The city then had a problem with the sign hanging over the sidewalk. They claimed that because a new insert with the Chop Shop logo was put in the old sign, it had to abide by new zoning regulations. The restaurant won on this one citing a rule that says existing signs are exempt. Later, though, restrooms would again cause more downtime. After the city had approved plans for the project with one bathroom and construction proceeded, the city forced Chop Shop to demo the new bathroom and install two. This time it set the schedule back a month, no way to foster innovative concepts being brought Downtown locally.
The new lunch spot is finally open, though, and it packs a big-city vibe. The interior is small and features a few modern tables for two, but the strength is in its salad variety (see a menu after the click). We won’t go into a food review here, there’s sure to be plenty in the upcoming weeks, but the custom salad bar looked sleek and efficient. Clad with glass tiles in various hues of green, the options seem endless.
Chop Shop Salads adds a unique new option to the Downtown lunch scene and will be a great place for Downtown workers to grab lunch and spend an hour in any of the parks and plazas that surround the restaurant. Thanks to a couple of Broken Sidewalk tipsters who pointed us to the grand opening.
- Chop Shop Salads (Official Site)
- Development Watch: Chop Shop Salads Stopped In Its Tracks (Broken Sidewalk)
- Another Lunch Spot Planned For Market Street (Broken Sidewalk)