By. Chris Stritzel
After rumors, construction, announcements and waiting, St. Louis can finally taste native Danny Meyer’s interpretation of some of our food. Shake Shack has opened today in Central West End. This is the company’s first location in St. Louis and certainly not the last one. At the prominent corner of Euclid and West Pine, Shake Shack lies in the nearly completed EUCLID Building. This is being developed by the Koman Group.
The 6 floor building should be open sometime in Early 2018, not until then, the first occupiable space in the Building belongs to Shake Shack and the Shack lovers cannot wait. Of course this location will have the signature Shake Shack lines snaking around the location. It is expected considering so many people have been waiting for this day for over a year since it was announced. If you want to try Shake Shack, it is best to download the Shake Shack app (which is available on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store) and order ahead. That way, you won’t have to wait for the long lines and the headaches of waiting in a line as long as it will be.
We will be down at Shake Shack this afternoon.
UPDATE: The Review/Verdict
I, Chris Stritzel, went down to Shake Shack today around 3P.M. and thought I would do a review of my experience there and give a recommendation on the kind of food that you may like. It begins just below.
I arrived at Shake Shack around 3P.M. on opening day and packed about a half block North on Euclid just west of the Whole Foods Market/Orion building. I walked over to Shake Shack and the line was not to long. Earlier in the day, the line went down to the Boy Scout building on West Pine. There were only about 15 people ahead of me outside and about 20 inside, in all, 35 people +/-. It was cold outside from the strong winds that were blowing. It was already windy enough but being in the recently built up Euclid Concrete Canyon made the wind even worse. It was like a wind tunnel.
As I waited in line, a man, who appeared to be in his 30s, came behind me and we started to talk. He stated that he was from Kansas City and wanted to know what all the hype was about surrounding Shake Shack (F.Y.I. Kansas City doesn't have a Shake Shack yet). He also wanted to know what the line was about. So I told him that lines at Shake Shacks are common especially new ones because hundred, if not thousands of people have the urge to get their hands on a Shake Shack burger or other foods. He was shocked and basically said that it is a cult.
As we continued to talk, two employees came out. One had menus and the other had hot cocoa. That hot cocoa was one of the better that I have had. It was rich and thicker than most other cocoa drinks but had a slight salty flavor to it. I asked one of the employees why it was this way, her response was that there was a dash of sated caramel in it. I was shocked but I liked it. After about 15 minutes outside in the cold wind, I got inside and it was packed. People were all over the place, 20 in front of me waiting to order, 10 waiting for their food and even more sitting down eating. It was interesting. (Video below).
Over the smell of food cooking in the kitchen, I could smell fresh paint which made the experience even better. It was also at this time that I realized the line grew back to the West Pine door on the Northern face of the building (keep in mind that it was now around 3:20P.M. so more people were getting off of work and school and just arriving). After waiting in line for a while, I ordered my food. I ordered a Chicken Shack, Original French Fries and a Coke. It was $13.20. Now some say that is expensive but I differ on that as it is 1. In Central West End which is expensive itself, 2. The City has a high tax rate (and tax was $2 on my order), and 3. Unless you have been to the one in Chicago, this one is reasonable.
My server was a middle aged man who was happy and didn't know how to use the Point of Sale system. But that is to be expected considering it just opened. Within 5 minutes, I got my food and went on my way. I got to my house and ate and it was very good. The Chicken was just the right amount of spicy, juicy and sweet. The fries were crunchy and not salty (which I like), the Coke wasn't anything special, as it was a Coke. I highly recommend getting the Chicken Shack if you happen to visit a Shake Shack as it is good and offers something different from a place known for its burgers and frozen custard.
So what is the verdict based on people, food, employees and atmosphere? I give this place a 4.25 out of 5 stars. The only thing I would like to see improve is employee usage of the computers. At times, the line would be stopped for two or three minutes because the employees did not know how to use the computers correctly. But I believe that they will learn by the first or second week of being in business. Furthermore, it is something that can't be changed, you are crunched for parking in Central West End. Street parking Is a hassle and Whole Foods bans you from parking in their garage, so you literally have to park a couple blocks away, unless you are lucky like me, and walk to Shake Shack. Unless it is not freezing cold or windy out, it would be ok but walking in the cold and wind really just makes this a hassle.
Overall, I think that Shake Shack will expand in St. Louis in the future and that this location will be highly successful once numerous proposed projects get underway around it.