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Butler’s “Chop Shop” Is More Than Just Your Average Diner

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – We’d like to help dispel the notion that police officers fuel their days with coffee and donuts.

Actually, news crews know that some of the best restaurant reviewers are cops. And in Butler, a detective pointed us to a real find.

“If you go up here to the stop sign, make a left, go to the next stop sign, make a right, that’ll take you to Main Street. Make a right onto Main Street, you’ll see the big red arrow,” said Det. Capt. David Delcamo, of the Butler Police Department.

The Chop Shop at 108 North Main Street is a delicious blend of diner sensibilities with a gourmet twist.

It’s also one man’s dream.

“My goal out of culinary school was to have my own restaurant by the time I turned 30,” said Bill Atkinson.

After a stint as a chef at the Treesdale Country Club, 32-year-old Atkinson opened The Chop Shop three weeks before his 30th birthday.

Born and raised in Butler, Atkinson then drafted his mom, Paula, to bake obscenely good desserts like a coconut cheesecake. His sister Carrie mans the grill and sous chef, Zack, has been there since the beginning.

“I decided I wanted to go with old gas station things, cars,” said Atkinson. “Because that was kind of important to me growing up.”

The restaurant is becoming a real magnet for his hometown.

“It gives people who maybe haven’t been on Main Street in a while a reason to come back and see all the other new shops that are here,” said Cheylynne Curci with Butler Downtown.

They have items like rabbit tacos and “pita heaven,” which has pulled pork, capicola, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, sweet pickles and sautéed yellow and red peppers.

Or how about “Chuck Norris chili” with black beans and sirloin, or a salad with baby spinach, apples, candied almonds, citrus cranberry vinaigrette and duck bacon?

“Stuff that you wouldn’t think would go together, so it’s really cool,” said customer Dan Kilroy.

This place draws both the ladies who lunch, and the down-to-Earth crowd.

“This could be a destination,” said customer Lisa Guard. “It should be a destination. This is the kind of restaurant you would drive an hour for.”

So, it’s not surprising that Bill’s passion for pork bellies is equal only to his passion for vintage vehicles, like a ’55 Willy’s Jeep that he and his dad still work on in the restaurant’s basement.

“The Chop Shop” is without a doubt an original.

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