ALEXANDRIA, VA – Chop Shop Taco is opening in Alexandria’s Madison Collective on Wednesday, May 1st. This fast fine restaurant and bar gets its name from the location, originally an auto body garage, and recycles much of the original hardware. At Chop Shop, guests order at the counter and seat themselves in the converted dining room, or carry out. The menu is a ‘chopping up’ of various cuisines, welded together to form an entirely new style.
Chef Ed McIntosh offers a rotating selection of meat from the vertical rotisserie such as duck, whole roasted chicken, and ribeye. Outside-the-box tacos on tortillas made in-house from fresh masa, and/or tortas served on soft white rolls, form the base of the menu. Combinations include brisket braised in beef lard with chile pasillas; pork shoulder roasted in banana leaves and achiote, with chile guajillo; and roasted mushrooms with halloumi cheese, dates, and pumpkin seeds. Tacos are priced at two for $8, 3 for $11; tortas are $9 each. McIntosh attended the Culinary Institute of America and gained much of his experience while working at Great American Restaurants and Hillstone Restaurant Group. After a brief stint at Matchboxfoodgroup, Chef McIntosh launched Tortilladora from Union Kitchen and had a tenure inside Shop Made DC upon its inception. In 2018, he opened Pendleton Carryout, managing Alexandria’s first incubator while perfecting his menu for the forthcoming Chop Shop Taco, his dream restaurant.
The menu at Chop Shop features creative, sometimes irreverent, snacks like fried rice cheese croquettes with huitlacoche, cotija, Serrano salsa, and porcini; clam and ham on annato-garlic toast with chorizo white wine broth; fried rock shrimp with shrimp paste chile oil and chayote-jicama salad; and tuna with Peruvian chilled mango sauce, cilantro, corn nuts, fresh chile, scallion, lime, and radish. Snacks range in price from $8 – $12.
A full-service bar offers many different margaritas and reimagined classic cocktails from cocktail director Jon Schott (The People’s Drug). Margaritas each have a unique twist and specific salt. For example, the Paloma swaps grapefruit soda for Schofferhoffer Grapefruit Radler, mixed with El Jimador Reposado and lime juice, with a Himalayan salt rim; while the King Louie offers a tiki twist with barrel aged tequila, barrel aged rum, pineapple juice, banana almond orgeat, and a caramel salt rim. Classic cocktails include the Corpse Reviver with Plymouth Gin, Lillet, Cointreau, lemon juice, and a jalapeño mezcal accent. Cocktails range in price from $10 – $15.
Chop Shop will offer their own House Mexican Style Golden Lager by Founders Brewing Company on draft along with bottles and cans from local and Mexican breweries. Expect micheladas all day, Cava throughout the year, and a full bar with a variety of agave spirits.
At just over 1000 sq. ft with 47 seats, the interior of Chop Shop Taco blends organic elements and earth tones with bright pops of color. The original garage floor remains, though resurfaced. Look closely and you can still spot where the old car lift used to be nailed into the floor. Pieces of the lift have been turned into legs for tables and chairs through custom metal working. A garage door transforms the dining room into an indoor-outdoor space when open. When closed, the pink tinged glass casts a rose hue over the diners inside.
Banquettes will remind you of the front seat of a classic car, while dining room chairs feel like bucket seats in old sports cars. Original doors have been repurposed and reused throughout the restaurant. An old sign reads “used tires for sale” and forms part of the hot pink exterior. Smaller details like bathroom sinks, countertops, and lighting all hint at the garage of the past. Plate ware is reminiscent of hubcaps and mirrors. Mismatched crystal provides glassware as varied as the restaurant’s influences.
Chop Shop, located at 1008 Madison will serve tacos from open to close, and the full dinner menu from 4 pm to 10 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Chop Shop opens Wednesday through Sunday at 11 am, closed Friday and Saturday and midnight, Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday at 11 pm. Monday and Tuesday Chop Shop Taco will be closed.