Neither Undaunted by lots of nearby burger competition nor the high turnover rate of shuttered eating establishments who tried to stay open on the same site, Danny Meyer’s Union Hospitality Group out of New York City recently opened its 16th Shake Shack location at 1450 South Dixie Highway.
“Shake Shack is going to be a game changer,” said Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce President Mark Trowbridge. “Several restaurants have come and gone here and not had the staying power. But they have taken the building façade and slid it back (to include outdoor dining) and it is now very comfortable. It’s mid- summer and you have people outside enjoying burgers and fries; it doesn’t get any better than that.”
The overflow crowd at the friends and family opening night seemed to ditto Trowbridge’s remarks as they enjoyed the endless platters of Shack Burgers, Vegetarian ‘Shroom Burgers, Hot Dogs, Bird Dogs, crinkle cut fries baskets and “Concretes” or frozen custard desserts delivered from the pristine open kitchen by an extraordinarily hospitable staff.
Shake Shack waiter and University of Miami nursing student Chris Hill said “the hospitality is exemplary. Everyone treats everyone well, the culture here really spoke to me. It’s like a family.”
Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti calls the business concept “a burger joint for the modern era.” Originally begun as a hot dog stand in Union Square in 1985, the first Shake Shack opened in 2001 in New York City and the first South Florida location opened on South Beach in 2004.
“We have been looking for a new location for two years,” said Garutti at the opening party. “We scoured this area and I can tell you what’s in every building around here. We wanted a community gathering place to bring people together and have fun like you are seeing tonight.”
With the close proximity of the University of Miami at the Coral Gables location and the surrounding high traffic visibility, Garutti and his team believe they found the perfect home. “This is like a dream I had recently,” said Coral Gables resident and guest Alex Melcom. “Unlimited excellent burgers, fries and beer, this is heaven, what else can a guy ask for?” Added his wife Johanna while enjoying apple pie a la mode custard, “They have everything that makes me happy.”
“All of our burgers are all natural patties with no hormones or antibiotics or trimmings,” said Garutti. “They are cooked to order after being ground fresh the night before. We sear them with a caramelized crispy edge to seal the flavor.”
Reclaimed bowling alley tables made in Brooklyn are part of the “green materials and sustainable woods” décor and five percent of sales from the Coral Crisp concrete will go to support the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. According to Public Relations Director Edwin Bragg, staff will visit the hospital monthly for custard socials with patients in continuation of a tradition begun at the South Beach location to “stand for something good.”
President of the Red Sunset Merchant Association Ivan Mladenovic said “the power of their business and brand will allow them to succeed in a space previously challenged by business owners.”