Arts & Culture

Shake Shack to open Wednesday, offering new shake flavors, local beer

First Rhode Island location moves into 249 Thayer Street

Staff Writer
Friday, March 15, 2019

Shake Shack is set to open on Thayer Street Wednesday at 11 a.m., marking the burger joint’s first location in Rhode Island.

The American fast-food chain will be located at 249 Thayer St., across from the Brown Bookstore.

Thayer Street “is a strong community of families, students and faculty, and thus the perfect place to lay our Rhode Island roots,” wrote Shake Shack Chief Development Officer Andrew McCaughan in an email to The Herald.

“We gravitate to community centric locations where we can find incredible people to join our team, establish a strong guest demand and become ingrained in the neighborhood culture,” he added.

Known for its customizable burgers and namesake frozen custard shakes, Shake Shack touts the high-quality taste of its food. “What we pride ourselves on is the real, premium ingredients we use in our food, our responsible sourcing practices and our warm hospitality,” McCaughan wrote.

Shake Shack will introduce shake flavors unique to the Thayer Street location, including “Pie Oh My,” a vanilla custard with a slice of seasonal pie; “Chocolate Thayer Cake,” a chocolate custard with fudge sauce, PVDonuts chocolate sea salt donut and chocolate toffee; and “À La Rhode,” a vanilla custard with salted caramel, malt powder, banana and chocolate sprinkles. The Shake Shack will also feature local beers from Narragansett Beer, Foolproof Brewing Company and Whalers Brewing Company.

Thayer’s Shake Shack will donate 5 percent of the proceeds made from their “Pie Oh My” custard flavor to the Thayer Street District Management Authority’s Public Art Fund, an organization that brings local art projects to the community. These efforts fall under the company’s initiative, “Stand For Something Good,” McCaughan wrote. “We’re committed to extending hospitality beyond the four walls of the Shack and into the community. In every neighborhood in which we open, we develop deep ties, become a part of the dialogue with community centers (and) local neighborhood partners and give to local charitable organizations.”

Shake Shack began in 2001 as a single hot dog cart in Madison Square Park, the brainchild of restaurateur Danny Meyer and his associate Randy Garutti, who is now Shake Shake’s CEO. In 2004, Meyer built Shake Shack’s first permanent location in Madison Square Park and shortly thereafter expanded throughout New York City. Shake Shack projects to have 200 U.S. locations by 2020, according to a CNBC article.

When asked whether Shake Shack would compete with other businesses on Thayer, University Vice President for Real Estate and Strategic Initiatives John Luipold said “any time you add into a retail area, some businesses are likely to be affected.” But Shake Shack may bring new customers to the area and potentially benefit nearby businesses, he added.

“Most other restaurants offer a wider variety of dinner and lunch options, which is something Shake Shack is a little weaker at,” Ben Myers ’21 said.

According to McCaughan, part of Shake Shack’s goal is to “highlight the already rich culinary scene in Providence.”

Myers noted that long lines might build up on Thayer Street for Shake Shack. But he is willing to “wait in line for (Shake Shack). You know it’s special.”

While Shake Shack’s prices tend to run higher than other fast-food burger chains — the barebones “ShackBurger” costs $5.29 compared to $3.99 for McDonald’s “Big Mac” — Myers is still looking forward to the restaurant’s offerings.

“You pay for what you get, and Shake Shack’s quality is just so incredible,” Myers said. He added that “I used to have a Shake Shack half a mile from where I live. … It was so much better than McDonald’s. I mean, the patties are better, the buns are better, the fries are better.”

But Myers is most looking forward to their “really quite superb shakes … and around here, it’s a little hard to find a good shake.”

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  1. The first two paragraphs of this article are SO similar the ProJo’s story that I did a double-take because I didn’t think you ran syndicated pieces…

  2. Didn’t Johnny Rockets just shut down their restaurant on Thayer Street? I’m confused why they didn’t do more market research on the demographics.

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