Rising like a burger phoenix from the ashes of Empire Szechuan Gourmet (which closed in 2007), the long-awaited Shake Shack on Walt Whitman Road in Melville is opening on Thursday March 30.
The stretch of Route 110 just north of the Northern State Parkway is hardly a burger-free zone. Five Guys, Zinburger, White Castle and McDonald’s are all less than 2 miles north of the Shack; Wendy’s and Burger King, less than 4 miles to the south. But with its rustic-industrial chic décor, sustainable menu and social-media presence, Shake Shack has more cachet than any other East Coast burger chain. (And, speaking of social media, customers can use the Shack App to order directly from their iPhones.)
Shake Shack already operates restaurants in Garden City (2012), New Hyde Park (2015) and, as of March 7, Lake Grove.
On the menu at all Shake Shacks: burgers, chicken, hot dogs, fresh-made frozen custard and crinkle fries, plus soft drinks, wine and beer. In addition to the chain’s Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister Ale, Melville patrons will be able to quaff Suffolk County brews from Blue Point Brewing Company, Port Jeff Brewing Company, Greenport Harbor Brewing and Great South Bay Brewery.
Unlike many other burger chains, Shake Shack does not franchise; the company operates all of its locations directly, and this tends to keep the quality at a very high level. (Airport and foreign locations are operated through licensing agreements.) The first Shake Shack opened in 2004 in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. The company, which went public in 2015, now operates more than 120 stores in 17 states and overseas.
Shake Shack, 849 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville, shakeshack.com