There's something new coming to Victory Park and it has food, drink, and cars: It's ChopShop Victory Park, a garage-themed restaurant and bar concept, and it's taking over the old Shooters space at 3030 Olive St. 105, where it will open on December 15.
There is no shortage of chop shops out there, it's a popular name not only for automotive businesses but also bars and hair salons.
This ChopShop is from Rock Libations, the restaurant company founded by Josh Babb, Sean Clavir, and Ken Johnsen, whose portfolio includes ChopShop Live, Carrollton ChopShop, Musume, the restaurant in the Hall Arts District, and its in-house speakeasy Akai.
The same team also operated Shooters, which closed in 2020 due to the pandemic. So this is kind of a rebranding, with a new menu and the whole industrial/garage theme with car and motorcycle parts serving as a decorative motif.
But it's also a little family story since it's run by Josh Babb's son Cole Babb, 27, who's been working in the restaurant industry for half his life. He also has a famous mom: Christina Hughes Babb, writer-reporter, currently at The Advocate, the Dallas local news chain.
"I've been working with my dad in the restaurant business since I was 13-14, doing a little of everything, from helping with invoices to bartending, once I got old enough," Cole says. "I also worked at Shooters, so that gave me some insight on how to be successful in this location."
Their location is directly outside of American Airlines Center — in fact, it's the closest spot to AAC.
"It's completely event-driven, so that's about 4 to 5 nights a week when you're going to be mobbed, and then not so much on non-event nights," he says. "Shooters was going well until COVID-19 hit. It reopened, but it never really came back, and it seemed like a good time to introduce ChopShop."
It's basically a sports bar, made up of car parts, with car hoods next to bar and a big chopper. Cocktails will be straightforward, and the menu is bar food with a twist — and the occasional automotive motif such as Spark Plugs, their name for jalapeno poppers, or The Buick, their name for a patty melt.
There are wings and waffle cheese fries, but also some interesting vegetarian items such as trashcan nachos with sour cream, beans, and queso; and cauliflower bites with Buffalo sauce and ranch.
One thing Cole has added is the presence of a DJ spinning every night.
"We've never done that before here," he says. "I'm also a musician and I think having a DJ is a valuable addition. And we'll be open until 2 am. Our goal is to be throwing a party for people, but with personal, attentive service. I'm going to be there every night and I think it means something when people see a familiar face."