Shake Shack Could Show Up in Harvard Square

The burger restaurant has applied for a special permit and will meet with Cambridge officials in May.


Photo by Brennan Carly

A popular fast food spot that recently made its mark in Massachusetts could be looking to add its signature items to the growing list of burger restaurants already situated in Harvard Square.

According to representatives from Shake Shack, the New York-based chain that describes itself as a “a modern day ‘roadside’ burger stand,” the company has not made a “formal announcement” about opening an additional restaurant in the area, following their debut in Chestnut Hill, however, they are looking to expand after their first spot proved successful.

“Regarding Harvard Square, we are indeed interested in a potential location for a new Shake Shack.  At this point we have submitted an application to the city for a special permit, and we will not be in a position to make a formal announcement until the board has reviewed and approved our application,” says Greg Waters, Shake Shack’s senior manager of marketing and communications.

The Harvard Crimson snapped a photo of the public hearing notice posted at 57 J.F.K. Street, just steps from a Tasty Burger on the same stretch of road. The meeting to review Shake Shack’s application will be tentatively held with the city of Cambridge’s Board of Zoning Appeal on May 7. If approved by the board, a 20-day appeal period would begin, after which Shake Shack would need to apply for a building permit, if the variance is granted. Water wouldn’t go into to details, but setting up a meeting with Cambridge officials is the first step to bringing the burger restaurant to the area.

But if it all goes well, Shake Shack would likely be greeted by throngs of hungry fans. When the Chestnut Hill location first opened its doors in late March, on a Wednesday, fans of the fast food chain were lined up as early as 10 a.m. for a chance to bite into a burger, some saying that they were “skipping school” for the grand unveiling.

The long lines outside of the Chestnut Hill location have been consistent in the weeks since it first opened, with those eager to try Shake Shack waiting patiently to get inside. It’s that support and the fact that the business has surpassed expectations that may be the indicator that a second location could be coming soon.

“We’re very excited to be a part of the Chestnut Hill community, and our new location there is exceeding expectations.  The local community has welcomed us with open arms, and we’ve been very fortunate to have lines out the door on a regular basis since opening,” says Waters. “A huge thanks goes out to all the ‘Shack Fans’ in Massachusetts for their amazing support.”