Plate of bbq ribs

Chop Shop BBQ Opens Its Doors In Caldwell

Two Boise food powerhouses team up on a sustainable, local-focused barbeque joint

Lex Nelson

When the doors swung open for Chop Shop BBQ’s Friends and Family Night Nov. 30, the tiny Caldwell restaurant filled up almost at once. The fact that the clock had just struck 3 p.m. didn’t seem to have an impact on the eager diners’ appetites for smoked pork shoulder, St. Louis-style pork ribs, and brisket. 

“We did 34 orders in the first hour alone,” said co-owner and former Goodburger COO Brady Gaschler, grinning from behind the bar. 

By dinner time proper, there was hardly a seat left in the house — a situation partly by design. The small barbeque joint on Indian Creek Plaza, which was the brainstorm of Gaschler and past Fork and Alavita chef Kris Ott (who also founded CCN), was created mainly as a take-out spot, with just a handful of dine-in tables and patio seating in season. Though the restaurant’s atmosphere is funky, featuring exposed brick and colorful graffiti, the food takes center stage. 

Every item on Chop Shop’s menu, from the popular butternut squash mac and cheese to the Boston baked beans, lamb shoulder, and deep-fried “potato grenades” is not only carefully crafted, but meticulously sourced from local, sustainable farms. At Friends and Family Night, those farmers sat elbow to elbow with the staff and their families, digging into the fruits (or in this case, primarily meats and vegetables) of their labor. 

The food, when it arrived, was pure barbeque heaven. The juicy, well-seared rib meat tore cleanly away from the bone, accented by the diner’s choice of sauces: tangy, vinegar-forward Chop Sauce or fruity, spicy Cadillac. Served on the side, the dish of mac and cheese could have been a meal in itself, and even a picky toddler would never guess at the butternut squash hidden in its sauce. A massive housemade cookie and dish of melt-in-your-mouth bread pudding finished the dinner off on a sweet high, all the more satisfying for its local origins and the eco-friendly tableware it was served with. 

“The concept of Chop Shop BBQ was born out of love and support for our local farming communities. We strive to bring that love and support to your table,” the restaurant’s website reads.

Chop Shop’s producers, including Snake River Farms, Rice Family Farms, McIntyre Pastures, Hipwell Ranch, and nearly a dozen others, are proudly displayed on its menu. Their prominence is a reminder to diners that their plates offer not only a delicious, no-frills culinary experience, but a taste of the place they call home.

Chop Shop BBQ officially opened to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 3. To try it yourself, stop by 716 Arthur Street in Caldwell from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM and order a plate at the counter.