We Went to the Shake Shack Opening, and Lived to Tell the Tale

In case you live under a rock, Shake Shack's Chestnut Hill location opened this morning. Our report from the front lines.

shakeshack2  Friends (and Shack Shack fiends) Wendy Schapiro and Candy Gold, two of the first customers in line.

Eager college students, ex-pat New Yorkers, and a three-month old baby were just some of the people in line at the Shake Shack Chestnut Hill grand opening earlier today. Fans lined up as early as 10 a.m. to be the first to get a taste of the cult-fave New York quick-service chain’s burgers, fries, and shakes on opening day.

In the moments prior to the door’s opening, team members assembled in the restaurant’s lobby for a last-minute pep talk by Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti and other higher-ups in chef/owner Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. “Let’s all have a great opening, and let’s show Massachusetts what we can do!” fans in line could hear from outside the closed doors as the employees inside began to chant the restaurant’s name in unison.

shakeshack3The massive Shake Shack menu.

As customers entered the burger palace at 11 a.m., they were greeted with an extensive menu that included brand-new items like the “Lobstah Shell Concrete,” a sundae-like concoction that consisted of vanilla custard, lobster tail pastry shell from the North End, strawberry puree, and fresh ricotta cream. Other Shack staples—including the Shroom Burger, Shack Stack, and cheese fries—were all also available.

shakeshack5The Lobstah concrete, a mix of vanilla custard, lobster tail pastry shell from the North End, strawberry puree, and fresh ricotta cream.

To keep hungry fans satisfied as the line grew longer, employees passed out free samples of menu items like custard and specialty drinks, much to the delight of the crowd. “Who wants sunglasses?” an eager team member shouted as he dispensed bright neon gold shades, all emblazoned with the Shake Shack logo. “I’m skipping school for this!” shouted one girl as she grabbed the sunglasses and ran from the restaurant with a takeout bag in hand, clearly hoping to get back in time for her next class.

shakeshack6Our order: A Shackburger, fries, and Lobstah concrete. 

Some diehard Shake Shack aficionados knew right away what was in store. “You gotta get a vanilla shake,” said one of the first customers in line, Wendy Schapiro. “It’s the best way to judge a restaurant, and Shake Shack’s is just amazing.” “No, black and white is the way to go,” interrupted her friend and fellow devotee Candy Gold, who had picked up an extra shake for her husband’s later consumption. “It’s just too classic to pass up.”

shakeshack4The custard calendar.

A special “March Custard Calendar” hung on the wall, listing unique flavors that included Boston Cream Pie (Mondays), Lime Coconut Crumble (Thursdays), and perhaps most intriguingly, “Waffles and Bacon” (Saturdays).

Things started to pick up on our way out, around noon.

Though the opening was widely hyped by local media (guilty), fans trickled in somewhat slowly as the doors opened, perhaps due to the fact that it was 11 a.m. on a Wednesday in Chestnut Hill, a neighborhood that is not necessarily a hotbed of foot traffic. As such, many of the patrons lived nearby. Shake Shack has mentioned that it will open additional Boston locations in the future—though no additional plans have been announced at the moment—which would certainly be more convenient for most Boston residents, rather than having to schlep on the T all the way to the suburbs.

The Chestnut Hill Shake Shack is located at 49 Boylston Road, Chestnut Hill, MA, and is open daily from 11am to 11pm.