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Jan 23, 2018
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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First Look: Shake Shack in the Central West End

December 11th 02:12pm, 2017

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The day has finally come. Shake Shack opened for business at its first St. Louis location today, Dec. 11, at 32 N. Euclid Ave.

“I never would have predicted that Shake Shack would be the thing that would bring me home,” said founder Danny Meyer, whose Union Square Hospitality Group is best known for fine dining.

Meyer grew up in St. Louis before becoming one of New York’s most famous restaurateurs. The newest location of his internationally popular burger chain is blocks away from where he was born and where his dad lived in the Central West End.

Meyer was inspired by his childhood favorites when he originally developed Shake Shack’s menu of griddle burgers and hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries and concretes – including Steak ‘n Shake, Fitz’s and Ted Drewes. “A great Saturday was when Dad would say, ‘Let’s go to Fitz’s,’” Meyer said.

His hometown also inspired his hospitality philosophy. “I continue to believe that the secret ingredient in all of our restaurants has always been the values that I was fortunate enough to grow up with here in St. Louis, which is: people are nice,” Meyer said.

 

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St. Louis-style hospitality is one of two secret ingredients Meyer credits for Shake Shack’s success. “The other is coming from a fine dining background. Through years and years of opening restaurants like Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park and The Modern, we know people,” he said. “We source our products just like we do in our fine-dining restaurants.”

The beef in Shake Shack’s smashed patties is all hormone-free. The concretes are made with real sugar and offer a range of local flavors including slices of Pie Oh My!, Park Avenue Coffee gooey butter cake and Winslow’s Home chocolate cookies. “I grew up with the family who started Winslow’s Home,” Meyer said.

Meyer’s attention to detail was evident just two days before opening. He didn’t choose the location or oversee construction in St. Louis, but he did make sure staff knew how much fizz should top a draft pour of Fitz’s root beer.

While walking through the local bottled beer selection – Schlafly, 4 Hands and Urban Chestnut are all represented – he took a step back and glowered at the display. “Do you see the problem I see?” he asked.

A stack of Mast Brothers chocolate for sale sat beside the beer. If they went through all the trouble of getting excellent local chocolate in the St. Louis concretes menu, Meyer explained, why would they sell Mast Bros. bars? “Not that I’m ashamed of Mast,” he said. “I’m just really proud of Askinosie.”

He had the kitchen staff bring out a huge bag of Missouri-based Askinosie chocolate chunks. “That’s really good,” he said as the staff started passing them around.

“I haven’t been sleeping – I’ve been so excited for this,” Meyer said. Shake Shack is now open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Here’s a first look at the highly anticipated new restaurant:

 

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Photos by Caitlin Lally 

Heather Hughes is managing editor at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Shake Shack will open Dec. 11 in the Central West End

Danny Meyer to open Shake Shack in St. Louis

 

By Heather Hughes

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