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Opinion

Shakin’ up the Shack

Dolly Dy-Zulueta

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The long wait is over. Shake Shack, the iconic modern-day roadside burger stand in New York, is finally opening its first Philippine store at Central Square, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, tomorrow, 10 May 2019, at 11 a.m.

Known for its 100 percent, all-natural Angus beef burgers, Shake Shack started as a roadside burger stand in New York City’s Madison Square Park in 2004. It sold not just Angus beef burgers in the public park, but soon became famous as well for its flat-top Vienna beef hotdogs, which are proudly free of hormones and antibiotics.

Calamansi Pie Oh My, Uuube-by baby, and Shack Attack.

Park-goers also loved its spun-fresh frozen custard, crinkle cut fries, milk shakes, craft beer and wine. Despite serving fast-food type food, which it elevated to almost gourmet status, Shake Shack made sure it offered fresh, simple and high-quality food at great value by using only premium ingredients. Soon, it became a fun and lively community gathering place for people who loved premium burgers, hotdogs and fries and enjoyed eating them in a safe and relaxed environment.

Brought to Manila by Specialty Food Retailers Inc. which is a member of the SSI Group, Shake Shack opens its first store at Central Square, which houses luxurious brands under the SSI Group.

SHACK-cago Dog.

Shake Shack has since expanded operations both in the United States and outside. It now has 200 stores in 26 US states and the District of Columbia. Its presence is also felt in more than 70 international locations, including London (England), Hong Kong (China), Shanghai (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Tokyo (Japan), Moscow (Russia), Seoul (South Korea) and, now, Manila (Philippines).

Brought to Manila by Specialty Food Retailers Inc. (SFRI), which is a member of the SSI Group, Shake Shack opens its first store at Central Square, which houses luxurious brands under the SSI Group. Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, for its part, is the “in” place to be — what with all the business establishments moving their main offices to BGC and the commercial buildings and residential condominiums rising in the area.

CRINKLE Cut fries.

Shake Shack in the Philippines, which is comparable to those in the US and its international locations, serves the brand’s signature items, including the ShackBurger, Shack-cago Dog, classic crinkle cut fries, craft beer, frozen custard ice cream, and concretes.

The ShackBurger is an antibiotic- and hormone-free cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce served on a non-GMO potato bun (P250).

Also on the “Burgers” list is Smoke Shack, which is a cheeseburger with all-natural Applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce (P365).

For non-meat eaters, the good news is that Shake Shack also offers the meat-free ‘Shroom Burger, which is a crisp-fried Portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce (P445).

The ‘Shroom Burger is a winner, being hefty despite being meat-free, and gooey cheese oozes out when one bites into the mushroom. Better yet, opt for the Shack Stack, which is a cheeseburger and a ‘Shroom Burger with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce (P545).

For diners who prefer hotdog over burger, Shack-cago Dog is the answer (P250). It’s an all-beef hotdog, sliced to be a flat-top dog on a hotdog bun, and topped with Rick’s Pick Shack relish, a slice of pickle, a slice of cucumber, chopped onion, sport pepper, mustard on the sides, and tomato slices sprinkled with celery salt.

Best to go with the burgers and hotdogs are Crinkle Cut Fries (P130) or Cheese Fries (P180).

These form the core of Shake Shack’s menu, supported by frozen custard ice cream and concretes (frozen custard blended with mix-ins) as desserts. Uuube-by Baby (Vanilla custard mixed with ube, coconut marshmallow, ube cookie, toasted coconut and crispy pinipig, then topped with a generous piece of leche flan); Calamansi Pie Oh My (Vanilla custard mixed with calamansi pie made by local favorite Wildflour Bakery); and Shack Attack (Chocolate custard mixed with Bucky’s original brownie, chunks of 55 percent cacao chocolate from local bean-to-bar Auro chocolate, Shack fudge sauce, and chocolate sprinkles). All three concretes can be had for P250 per order.

Shake Shack culinary director Mark Rosati at the brand’s first Philippine store located at Central Square, BGC.

These concretes have been concocted exclusively for the Philippine market. So have two special drinks — Ube Shake (Vanilla frozen custard ice cream blended with ube and hand-spun to order) and Calamansi Limeade (a local twist on the Shack classic lemonade). The Ube Shake is priced at P190, while the Calamansi Limeade costs P130.

What sets Shake Shack apart from other burger restaurants in the country is that its menu carries ShackMeister Ale, Pale Ale by Engkanto Brewery, Saison Farmhouse Ale by Monkey Eagle Brewery, Premium Lager by San Miguel Brewery and some wines. It also offers treats for dogs — Poochini (ShackBurger dog biscuits, peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard) and Bag-O-Bones (five ShackBurger dog biscuits made by Whole Pet Kitchen).

Since Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand for Something Good, the brand sets aside five percent of sales from the Calamansi Pie Oh My concrete to support Children’s Hour, which is an organization that funds projects on education, health and nutrition, and child welfare and development for Filipino children in need. It has also partnered with Hope in a Bottle in its Shack20 bottled water to help Hope build public school classrooms.

SHACK Burger.

What sets Shake Shack apart from other burger restaurants in the country is that its menu carries ShackMeister Ale, Pale Ale by Engkanto Brewery, Saison Farmhouse Ale by Monkey Eagle Brewery, Premium Lager by San Miguel Brewery, and some wines.

“We’re thrilled to bring the NYC Shake Shack experience to the Filipino community, and are proud of the company’s mission to Stand for Something Good. Our burgers and hotdogs use 100 percent all-natural beef, free of hormones and antibiotics, non-GMO potato buns, and custard that is made from real sugar as well as milk from dairy farmers who pledge not to use artificial growth hormones,” says Anton Huang, SSI Group president.

He adds: “We’re proud to finally unveil our Manila menu that was created with high standards of excellence: thoughtful ingredient sourcing and preparation, hospitality and quality that will provide a value that is accessible for our Filipino customers.”

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