JUST ANNOUNCED: Shake Shake announced today that the opening date for its first Chicago location at 66 E. Ohio--will be Tuesday, November 4.
What took Shake Shack so long to discover Chicago—the comfort food capital of the world? It’s somewhat of a puzzle but, no worries, the Windy City is gearing up for a bigtime "Shack" attack—with a duo of Shake Shacks about to descend on some prime real estate.
Construction is already underway at 66 E. Ohio St. for Chicago's first Shake Shack. A second location, just announced, on the ground floor of the new Chicago Athletic Association Hotel at Michigan and Madison will be under construction soon for the "little hot dog cart" that could.
As the story goes Shake Shack is an offshoot from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan that was created in 2001 by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) to help raise funds for the restoration of the park.
The hot dog cart, planned as a temporary installation, turned out to be such a hit that in 2004 a permanent structure was built and Shake Shack was alive and kicking.
The first Shake Shack, reminiscent of a “roadside” burger stand, added burgers, frozen custard, shakes and other offerings to its menu. The crowds came--stood in line for sometimes as long as an hour--and the rest is burger history.
Chicago has arrived a little late to the table with locations already operating in Miami Beach's South Beach, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts and Las Vegas--with others on the way in Atlanta and Austin--plus 13 more locations around the globe from the Middle East to London.
Opening day is drawing near with the Ohio St. location gearing up for fall 2014 and the Madison St. Shake Shack looking to open its doors early in 2015.
In the meantime, sidewalk engineers can play to their heart's content with the six "interactive life-size sliding puzzles" affixed to the plywood walls of the Ohio St./Rush St. Shack location while checking out the construction progress.
Each puzzle, pictured at the top of this post, bears an original artwork by Noah MacMillan, creator of the Chicago Loop District’s iconic “Float” mural, and will be displayed throughout the construction process.
The menu for the Chicago location has yet to be announced so whether it will include the top prize-winning MeisterShack burger at Miami’s 2014 South Beach Wine and Food Festival—a cheeseburger topped with beer-marinated crispy shallots and Shack Sauce--remains to be seen.
However, it has been confirmed that both Chicago locations will serve 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, flat-top dogs made with Chicago’s own Vienna Beef, plus fresh-made frozen custard, craft beer and wine.
Be prepared to wait just a little bit longer to experience the Shake Shack frenzy--and then to wait again, in line, when burger-mania sets in as Shake Shack opens its doors. Let the burger wars begin!
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