Take heart expat New Yorkers and Chicago-style hot dog lovers living in London, Danny Meyer loves you. A release this morning from the Union Square Hospitality Group announced that the Madison Square Park-born burger joint will be opening it's third international location. Shake Shack Dubai and Shake Shack Kuwait City will be joined mid-2013 by the burger spot's first European location, this one in the Market Building near the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden. And with that, London's best burgers have a new member among their ranks. The move comes less than two weeks after the opening of their most recent location in Long Island (their first there not in Brooklyn or Queens).
"For years an enormous number of friends in London have asked us when we would bring our first restaurant to their home," USHG CEO Danny Meyer said in the release. "We’ve looked high and wide for just the right time and spot, and at last we’ve found it. We’re positively in love with London’s thriving food culture, and are humbled and excited to bring Shake Shack to the U.K."
Determining factors for Covent Garden being chosen included its "stirring historic architecture and its nearly four-century tradition as a flourishing, culture-rich shopping and food destination enjoyed by Londoners and visitors alike." There are plans for outdoor seating to flank columns on South Row, and "the Shack will extend into the expansive glass atrium on the Piazza, where additional seating will be available."
And yes, Shake Shack fanatics, according to the release, there will be Shake Shack items only available at the London location. Those new items (most likely concretes) will join the following list Shackfans can currently pilgrimage (listed below).
Interesting to note that according to QSR, "between its 1986 founding and 2002, the year it started franchising, Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened six locations, all in the Washington, D.C.-metro area near its home base in Arlington, Virginia." It's only been in the following years that Five Guys has opened the some 750 locations that have made it a household name. Shake Shack's original location in New York City's Madison Square Park officially opened in 2004 and has already expanded domestically to eight other locations in New York; two each in Connecticut, Florida, and D.C.; and one in Philadelphia. Nobody's saying Danny Meyer wants to be the next Ray Kroc, but things are already ahead of the Five Guys pace. Just saying...
You'd have to imagine that locations in Texas, Las Vegas, and California can't be long in the making, which will finally set up the In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack face-off that partisans of both burgers have been anticipating for some time. Ponder that as you peruse the secret Shake Shack Menu.
In other Shake Shack news closer to home, a representative recently noted a special Fall concrete at all domestic locations, their most popular concrete ever: Pumpkin Pie, Oh My! The vanilla frozen custard treat (left, courtesy Shake Shack) is blended with a slice of pumpkin pie and will be available until Sunday, Dec. 2.
|Upper East Side||Coffee Bean Brownie, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunchcrete, and Black & White Cookie concretes|
|Upper West Side||Shacky Road, Upper West Side, and Natural History Crunch-Stellation concretes|
|Battery Park City||Wall-Nut Street, Lower West Side, and Downtown Butter Brown concretes|
|Theater District||Great White Way, Prezel! The Concrete, and Jelly's Last Donut conretes|
|Downtown Brooklyn:||The Urban LumberShack, and Fudge-eddaboutit, Borough Precedent concretes|
|Westbury, N.Y.:||Westberry, Malt Whitman, and Old Country Rocky Road concretes|
|CitiField:||The Shortstop concrete and Frisky Fries|
|Saratoga Springs, N.Y.:||Sloppy Track concrete and Frisky Fries|
|Westport, Conn.:||Hopscotch, Banana Post Rd, and The NUTmeg State concretes|
|New Haven, Conn.:||The Handsome Dog and Boola Boola Blue, Skull & Cones, and Elm City Coffee Break concretes|
|South Beach:||Key Lime Pie Oh My, Shark Attack, and Vice Crispy Treat concretes|
|Coral Gables, Fla.:||Cookie Cubana, The "U" Malt, Coral Crisp, and Key Lime Pie oh My concretes|
|Dupont Circle:||Presidential Sweet, Washington Monu-Mint, and Majority Whip concretes|
|Nationals Park:||Frisky fries and The National Pastime concrete|
|Philadelphia:||Center City Pretzel, Rittenhouse, and Liberty Shell concretes|
|Dubai and Kuwait City:||Special hot dogs (New York Style, Cheese, 2nd City Bird, Bird, Cheese Bird) and Shack Attack; Strawberry Banana Trifle; Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch; Great White Way; Chocolate, Caramel & Cookies; and Vanilla Toffee Twirl concretes|
Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Follow Arthur on Twitter.