Customers using Shake Shack self service ordering kiosks, Queens, New York. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Connection Between Grease And Shake Shack
By Aimee Lamoureux
In 2001, restaurateur Danny Meyer opened a hot dog cart as part of New York City's revitalization of Madison Square Park, and customers lined up in droves to order the high-quality, Midwestern fare. Having a catchy name didn't hurt business either, but Shake Shack was almost called something else.
Meyer was inspired by the ending of the classic 1978 musical "Grease," when Danny and Sandy are at the school carnival on a ride called the "Shake Shack" while singing their famous duet, "You're the One That I Want." Meyer, who was a big fan of the movie and had watched the scene many times, gave the name to his now-famous restaurant.
Meyer also considered several other names, including Custard's First Stand, Dog Run, Custard Park, Madison Mixer, and the remarkably unappetizing Parking Lot. Custard's First Stand was the initial front runner, but ultimately he decided to go with his "Grease"-inspired gut, and the name Shake Shack stuck.
After more than 20 years and 360 locations later, it would seem odd to think of Shake Shack being called anything else. Many popular menu items, including the Smoke Shack, Shack Stack, and the famous original ShackBurger, are taken directly from the chain's name.