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The Chop Shop aims to bring upscale burgers to university district

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Gourmet hamburger restaurant The Chop Shop, located on the corner of Lane Avenue and North High Street, is estimated to open early winter semester of 2015. The restaurant will contain two bar areas and meals, which will be served through counter service. Chahinaz Seghiri / Lantern photographer

Gourmet hamburger restaurant The Chop Shop, located on the corner of Lane Avenue and North High Street, is estimated to open early winter semester of 2015. The restaurant will contain two bar areas and meals, which will be served through counter service.
Chahinaz Seghiri / Lantern photographer

Students who are reeling from the closing of Red Robin’s Burger Works need not fear. There is a new burger joint opening to offer a different type of burger experience.

The Chop Shop has been under construction since July, at 2195 N. High St., next door to the Buffalo Wild Wings located at 2151 N. High St.

In an area with several burger joints — Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Five Guys — The Chop Shop hopes to offer high-quality ingredients in a high-energy environment.

“The quality of our food is going to be above and beyond what anyone is putting out,” said Sean Bannan, general manager of The Chop Shop. “A lot of places go for frozen because it’s cheaper and easier, but we’re not about that. We want to put out good, quality food.”

The menu, including prices, had not been finalized as of Wednesday, Bannan said. He is aiming for a meal to stay under $10.

Burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings will be offered, Bannan said. The burgers will be made of fresh Angus beef, never frozen and all-natural. The cows will be grass fed with no added hormones or antibiotics. There will also be a made-from-scratch vegetable burger. All of the burgers will be made to order, but some signature options could be added, Bannan said.

The french fries and onion rings will be hand-cut in the restaurant and fried in peanut oil. Bannan said the dessert menu is currently under construction, but might include some ice cream options.

The produce, for condiment purposes, will come from a local vendor, but there has not been a food source chosen yet, Bannan said.

Bannan said The Chop Shop will offer counter service, which should make for a quick experience. A customer will place an order and be given a paging device. When the food is ready, the pager will buzz and the customer will pick up the order from the counter, similar to Five Guys. Bannan said the plan is for the wait to be less than 10 minutes.

Bannan promises The Chop Shop will have a more upscale experience, similar to Flip Side in Easton. There will be a full bar and the interior is set to include new tiles, decorative woods and sheet metal for a retro feel, Bannan said.

Rachel Baileys, a first-year transfer student in visual communications, plans on trying the new restaurant when it opens.

“I think it’ll be good. There’s always so much stuff on High Street, so anything will be a good addition,” Baileys said.

Despite existing burger competition, Chad Gomez, a second-year in athletic training said he expects the business to succeed.

“I think it’ll bring a lot of attention to the campus,” he said. “Since a lot of college students tend to prefer foods like hamburgers, I think it’ll do well.”

Over the years, The Chop Shop’s location has been the home of several bars that have come and gone. But Bannan isn’t concerned about that.

“We’re doing a fresh concept,” Bannan said. “I think it’s almost like a brand new beginning at that place, so we’re not worried.”

Despite Bannan’s assertions that The Chop Shop’s high quality burgers are a new addition to the area, Doug Rawson — a manager at the Five Guys at 1603 N. High St. — said it’s a product his restaurant already offers.

“Our beef is quality,” he said. “It’s some of the best you can get, so I mean, I don’t see any competition in this new place at all.”

Rawson also said he doesn’t expect The Chop Shop to affect Five Guys’ success.

“Do I expect differences in our business? No, not at all,” he said. “We had the Red Robin that opened down the street last year, it didn’t affect us at all.”

A store manager for the 3592 N. High St. Wendy’s declined to comment Wednesday night, and management at the McDonald’s could not be reached.

Alex Boone — a former Ohio State football player and current guard for the San Francisco 49ers — is investing in The Chop Shop, along with John Kastelic and Cynthia Massimianis. Kastelic and Massimiani own both The Big Bar and The Little Bar.

“We want to get energetic, friendly people who want to work with food and people,” Bannan said.

The restaurant should be open by the beginning of 2015, he said.

“I just want to see us do good, put out a great quality and hopefully one day expand,” Bannan said.

Paul Ellis contributed to this article.

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