It’s burger time! And that’s because Shake Shack – the New York hot dog stand turned global burger empire – opens tomorrow, Dec. 6 at 11 a.m. at 220 E. Buffalo St. And, if you're lucky enough to be one of the first 50 customers in line when they open, you'll get a free ShackBurger.
What's a Shackburger? And why should you care? Well, we’ve got a sneak peek at some of the things you can expect when you visit. You can also read more about the popular burger chain and its history here.
Walking into the newly minted restaurant, you’ll be greeted by clean lines, floor-to-ceiling windows and a combination of stainless steel and warm wood. Environmentally friendly touches include tables made from wood recycled from bowling lanes in New York.
And, while it’s a bit difficult to envision eating out-of-doors on a blustery day like today, there’s more to look forward to next summer, when Shake Shack will add a dog friendly patio along the Buffalo Street side of the building. And considering there are two dog-friendly items on the Shake Shack menu (the Pooch0ini dog biscuit sundae for $3.99 and the Bag O-Bones featuring five dog biscuits for $7.99), a dog-friendly space only makes sense.
Among the 61 local employees hired by Shake Shack for the new location are familiar faces including General Manager Ari Domnitz, owner and operating partner of Karma Bar & Grill, whose experience includes work with Hospitality Democracy, Bar Louie and Mo’s.
"We’re really happy to be a part of the Third Ward," says Matt Meyer, Midwest area director for Shake Shack. "And we’re proud to be part of the groundwork for the continued upswing of the neighborhood."
Burgers and crinkle-cut fries
When it comes to burgers, Shake Shack is known for its commitment to high-quality ingredients. The burgers are freshly ground from a custom blend brisket, chuck, skirt steak and short rib from all-natural Angus beef. In fact, it’s rumored that the team at Shake Shack sampled 20 different ground beef combinations before selecting the one they currently use.
Among the burgers offered, the best known (and most ordered) is the ShackBurger, a cheeseburger decked out with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce (a tangy housemade mayo). The single will put you back a whole $5.49, while the double is $8.29.
And then there’s those fries. They’re $2.99 worth of light, crispy potato-ey goodness. You can add cheese sauce to them for $3.99 or bacon and cheese for $4.79. Or you can add cheese and a dose of Shack Shack’s smoked and slow braised beef chili for $4.99.
If you’d prefer, there’s also the SmokeShack, a cheeseburger with Niman Ranch bacon, chopped cherry peppers and ShackSauce ($6.99 or $9.79).
And vegetarian customers can indulge in the ‘Shroom Burger, made from two portobello mushroom caps stuffed with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, breaded and deep fried and topped with lettuce, tomato and ShakeSauce ($6.99).
"Most vegetarian sandwiches are healthy and bland," notes Meyer. "But, Shake Shack is an indulgence, and the ‘Shroom Burger is meant to give vegetarians the same indulgent experience as our burger."
There's also a super indulgent carnivorous version, the Shack Stack, which has everything on the ‘Shroom Burger plus a cheeseburger for good measure ($9.89).
Of course, Shake Shack also offers some unique offerings at its Milwaukee location. That includes the Brat Burger, a hamburger topped with a split, flat-top griddled Usinger’s jalapeno cheddar brat, Shackmeister Ale marinated crispy shallots and ShackSauce ($7.89 or $10.69). You can also order the brat on its own, topped with Shack cheddar and American cheese sauce and crispy Shackmeister Ale marinated shallots.
Among the restaurant’s concrete offerings (custard mixed with a variety of add-ins) is the Buffalo Street Brownie featuring fudge-y Rocket Baby Bakery brownies, vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce and chocolate sprinkles (single for $4.69 or a double for $6.89).
It’s the holidays, so there are also three holiday shakes ($5.79 each): the holiday cookie shake with vanilla custard, cookie batter base and butter cookies; the peppermint chocolate shake, garnished with peppermint bark; and the frozen hot cocoa shake.
And, if you’re feeling like indulging in a treat while supporting a good cause, you should consider the Pie Oh My concrete, a custard creation featuring vanilla custard mixed with a slice of Honeypie’s seasonal pie ($4.69/$6.89). The fall version features Honeypie caramel apple crumb pie, and 5% of sales from this treat will go to support Groundwork, a local nonprofit empowering people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well being.
Dogs, chicken and off-menu items
Among other offerings are the Shack-cago dog (dragged through the garden, $4.69), the chili cheese dog ($4.80) and the chicken dog featuring chicken, apple and sage sausage ($4.79).
An oft-overlooked option on the Shack menu is the Chick’n Shack (which some say is as good, if not better than Chick-fil-A). That’s thanks to a chicken breast that’s cooked via sous vide and then breaded and flash fried. It’s served up with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo for $6.59.
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little different, you can also try ordering two of their off-menu items: the grilled cheese sandwich or the peanut butter bacon burger.
And, if tradition holds true, Milwaukeeans can also look forward to a special summertime offering of Shack Shack corn dogs, all-beef Vienna dogs dipped in housemade corn batter and served with sweet relish. They’re only available for three days out of the year: Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.
On the beverage side, there’s iced tea, lemonade, or the fifty/fifty (a combination of iced tea and lemonade, fountain sodas, Sprecher draft root beer and Stumptown cold brew coffee. There’s also Honest Kids organic apple juice for the kiddos.
Shack Shack also offers beer and wine, including tap offerings like Shackmeister Ale or New Glarus Spotted Cow or Shack Red or Shack White wines. There’s also Mionetto prosecco and a variety of bottled brews including Miller High Life and selections from MKE Brew Co., Lakefront Brewery and Surly Brewing Co.
Starting Dec. 6, Shake Shack is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.