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Shake Shack plans Melville opening

The juicy SmokeShack burger at Shake Shack is

The juicy SmokeShack burger at Shake Shack is topped with cheese, Niman Ranch bacon, chopped cherry peppers and ShackSauce, a slightly spicy pinkish mayo-based sauce, all served on a Martin’s potato bun that's buttered and toasted. Credit: Jin Lee

Shake Shack, the wildly popular burger-and-shake chain, is heading east, with plans for its first location in Suffolk on Route 110 in Melville.

Edwin Bragg, Shake Shack’s director of marketing, said the company is “currently in the beginning of the site-plan approval process in Melville, at 849 Walt Whitman Road.” That address, now an empty lot just north of the Northern State Parkway, is the former site of Empire Szechuan Gourmet, which closed in 2007.

According to Bragg, there is no projected opening date. As for the decision to open on the busy 110 corridor, he said, “We’re always exploring good communities, where our fans would like to see a Shack.”

Route 110 is hardly a burger-free zone. Five Guys, Zinburger, White Castle and McDonald's are all less than 2 miles north of the future Shack; Wendy's and Burger King, less than 4 miles to the south. But with its rustic-industrial chic decor and  sustainable menu, Shake Shack has more cachet than any other East Coast burgerie.

Long Island’s first Shake Shack, in the Gallery at Westbury Plaza in Garden City, opened in November 2012 and has been mobbed pretty much ever since. A second Nassau Shake Shack is due to open later this year in the Lake Success shopping center in New Hyde Park, where Deli King used to be.

Owned by Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, Shake Shack is an updated take on a classic Midwestern roadside burger stand, albeit one with its own proprietary wine and craft beer. The first Shake Shack opened in 2004 in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. The company, which went public in January, now operates 56 branches in the United States and abroad.

Shake Shack's savory menu comprises hormone- and antibiotic-free Angus-beef burgers ($4.19 to $9.49), split-and-griddled hot dogs ($3.25 to $4.50), fries (previously frozen, $2.95), wine and beer (including Brooklyn Brewery's Shackmeister Ale on tap, $5.50 for 16 ounces). On the sweet side is frozen custard in vanilla, chocolate and a flavor of the day, made fresh daily at each Shake Shack. It can be ordered in a cup or cone ($3.50 to $4.50), a pint ($6), or in a shake ($5.50) or float ($5.25).

Shake Shack's signature dessert is a Midwestern specialty virtually unknown on either coast: the “concrete,” a dense blend of frozen custard with your choice of 12 mix-ins, from fudge or caramel sauce to cheesecake blondies and Belgian waffles.


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