Bye-bye, City Lights of China.
That's right, Dupont Circle's favorite Asian Chipotle spinoff, Shophouse, is coming to Bethesda Row. Shophouse will move into the City Lights of China space at 4820 Bethesda Avenue, which City Lights is vacating ...now.
As the auction announcement I found (below) shows, the contents of City Lights are being auctioned off today.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that Shophouse is taking its place. Have you heard before that a particular restaurant is the "[fill in type of ethnic food] Chipotle" before? Or "trying to be Chipotle?"
Well, Shophouse literally is Chipotle, an Asian spinoff from the same company. So prices and ordering procedures will be fairly familiar to regular patrons of Chipotle. I expect Shophouse will be hugely popular at lunch.
Of course, having a corporate chain take over a small Chinese restaurant will likely cause some minor grumbling in the community. As might the closure of a second independent Asian restaurant on Bethesda Avenue in a month (Taipei 101 being the first). It will be interesting to hear public reaction, given the popularity of Shophouse in DC.
Appropriately, the name Shophouse comes from Chinese buildings that had residences above commercial shops. What's old is new again, as Shophouse comes to Bethesda Row, which urban planning experts refer to often as the best example of a mixed-use development in America.