Like the grand opening of the first Studebaker dealership in sleepy Anytown U.S.A., Shake Shack opened in Washington this week, finally putting the District of Columbia on the map.
Well, not quite. But given the number of pixels dedicated to New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer’s roadside burger chain and its arrival in Dupont Circle (and soon, Nationals Park), one had the feeling that this was no ordinary burger joint grand opening. This was big.
This was validation; yet another example of a New Yorker bestowing his culinary stamp of approval on the D.C. market. This was slick, upmarket Americana goodness, a place that serves custard and ice cream, with crinkle-cut fries and burgers neatly tucked inside wax paper sleeves to maximize on-the-go eatability.
Doors opened shortly after 11 a.m., by which time, upwards of 30 people had formed a line stretching down the block from the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Jefferson Place NW past Public Bar and Nando’s several doors down.
Some were Nationals fans, who had taken the day off to attend the team’s rained-out game with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Others were curiosity seekers from nearby office buildings.
And, ah yes, some were transplanted New Yorkers, who couldn’t resist sharing their infinite Shake Shack wisdom from years of patience waiting for burgers in the Big Apple: “I’m a Shack Stack guy, always have been,” said Paul, who declined to give his last name for fear that his boss would discover he wasn’t actually at the dentist this morning. He was referring to one of the restaurant’s signature offerings: a cheeseburger topped with a fried portobello mushroom and filled with melted cheese.
Just how long were people willing to wait? Tim Carman interviewed Andy Lomeli, who arrived outside Shake Shack by 8:30 a.m. on the topic of Shake Shack devotion.
How long are you willing to endure #shakeshackalypse today, or any day?