When Original ChopShop made its debut in Dallas-Fort Worth in April 2018, we told readers: Whatever you think a chop shop is, this new Original ChopShop probably isn't. It's a healthy-eating restaurant that sells protein bowls and kale cleanse juices. It also isn't the first chop shop ever, its Original name be damned.
But what is a chop shop, anyway? It's a trendy thing to call your business right now, that's for sure. Google's dictionary says it's a "place where stolen vehicles are dismantled so that the parts can be sold or used to repair other stolen vehicles."
Which brings us to another time when chop shop was used in a company name in the past few months in Dallas-Fort Worth. ChopShop Live, a music venue, bar and restaurant in Roanoke fronted by country music singer Randy Rogers, just opened in summer 2018. It's a sibling venue to a place by the same name in Carrollton. The new Roanoke outpost is kind of like being at the Rustic in Uptown.
ChopShop Live feels closer to the dictionary's definition of a chop shop than the healthy place above, but even so, ChopShop Live's name is more of a playful homage to a questionable car lot than a literal one.
Co-founder Joshua Babb wanted "to create a sports bar made of car parts," he says. "Inside both venues, we have everything from car hoods, tools, vintage motorcycles, spare parts from engines, large garage doors that resemble an old car garage, etc. We just liked the idea of being in your dad's or grandfather's garage and having a beer and watching a game."
The most authentic chop shop we could find in Dallas-Fort Worth is Dallas Chop Shop, a custom motorcycle shop in Carrollton. Owner/manager Matt Dihel says customers sometimes call him, wanting to know if he wants to buy a car with no tires ... and no, they don't want to say where it came from.
No, thanks, Dihel says. "I don't think you're going to find a chop shop in the yellow pages, I tell them."
"Pretty much all we do is work on Harleys," he says.
So, even here, our most authentic chop shop isn't a real one.
The chop shop name also comes up in Mesquite and Dallas, both at barbershops. Chop Shop Barbershop and Rob's Chop Shop are legitimate men's hair-cutting operations, rare gems in a world full of Sport Clips.
And then there's Reno's Chop Shop Saloon, a dive bar in Deep Ellum that's popular with bikers.
This list doesn't even include a steakhouse, but it could: Arnette's Chop Shop in Georgia is but one example of another kind of chop shop.
So you're probably thinking what I'm thinking: All but Original ChopShop — the healthy place — can kinda-sorta get away with using the words chop shop. Please, Original ChopShop, 'splain:
"ChopShop comes from us chopping up the vegetables, and we call our salads 'chops,'" CEO Jason Morgan said during an interview in early April 2018, before the Las Colinas Original ChopShop opened. "The original logo had two meat cleavers on it."
So there you have it. We'll be watching for more chop shops to crop up, pop up. Open shop.