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What to expect during a Shake Shack Easton visit

Linda Lee Baird

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I’m waiting in line to get into the opening at Shake Shack Easton, and I’m totally OK with that. If you’ve ever been to the original Shake Shack in New York City’s Madison Square Park, you know that the line is part of the experience: you wait, you order, you wait again while trying to track down a table. And then, when your order comes up at last, you get summer in a basket: burgers, dogs, fries, beer—a barbecue on your lunch break that makes the wait feel totally worthwhile.

Columbus’ first Shake Shack brings all of the flavor of the New York experience without the need to muscle your way into a table at a crowded park. At over 3,500 square feet, there’s plenty of seating inside and out (with more outdoor seating at Easton should you take your order “to go”). There are even kiosks where you can customize your order and pay your ticket, further reducing that wait time. 

The more difficult question will be deciding what your order contains. In addition to traditional “ShackBurgers” and hot dogs, the menu offers chicken sandwiches and crinkle cut fries. There are also some twists on the classics: the SmokeShack burger piles spicy cherry peppers and bacon on top of a ShackBurger, elevating it far above your basic burger. The “ ‘Shroom Burger” featuring a fried portabella serves as a vegetarian main.

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And while a shake, made from frozen custard, is the obvious choice to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are several other dessert options that are a few notches above what you can get at most fast casual burger joints. The intensely chocolate Shack Attack piles truffle cookie dough and Mast chocolate on top of custard. The Easton Bound combines Fox In The Snow pecan sticky buns with banana and salted caramel sauce, while the Pie oh My blends in Fox in the Snow custom pie treats.

Collaborating with local purveyors is a key way that Shake Shack sets itself apart from other burger joints, even as it’s grown to over 200 locations around the globe. In addition to partnering with Fox In The Snow, local breweries will be well-represented on the Shack’s taps. Beers from Platform Beer Co., Lager Heads, Royal Docks Brewing Co. and Kindred Brewing will all be available for your patio-drinking pleasure. 

On top of its dedication to working with the community is a commitment to the planet: all of Shake Shack’s menu is hormone- and antibiotic-free, and the restaurant was built with sustainability in mind. (In a fitting tribute to the Midwest, the wooden tables are made from reclaimed bowling lanes.)

We’re lucky that Shake Shack’s opening coincides with the beginning of summer. I’m planning to spend some hot afternoons eating ShackBurgers while my kids run around in Easton’s fountain—after I’ve loaded them up with chocolate shakes, of course. And while summer lasts only a few fleeting months, the ShackBurger is, happily, here to stay.

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Food & Drink

Game of Cones: New ice cream contender coming to Short North

Mike Thomas

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It seems a new challenger is emerging in the race to claim the Columbus ice cream crown.

CRMD, a new ice cream spot opening soon at 1190 N. High St. in the Short North, is being teased for a “summer 2019” launch on the company’s website.

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The same site shows the brand’s flavor offerings, which will include matcha, Viet coffee, and cereal + milk. Upon opening, CRMD will also be slinging puffles – a spherical egg-based waffle cone popular in Hong Kong and Macau.

For more information and a full list of flavors, visit www.getcrmd.com.

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Biz + Dev

Update: Cajun food fans disappointed by Ned’s Bayou development

Mike Thomas

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UPDATE: While concrete information regarding the mysterious Ned’s Bayou is still unavailable, signs seem to indicate that the retail space will serve as a popup store for Twenty One Pilots merchandise when the duo comes to town for a double-header at Nationwide Arena on June 29 & 30.

Exhibit A: searching “Ned’s Bayou” on the Ohio Secretary of State’s online database shows an address on Worthington Galena Rd. for the business’ registered owner. The members of Twenty One Pilots are themselves former Worthington residents.

While this in and of itself says little, the group’s de facto mascot (seen here in the music video for the song “Chlorine”) happens to be named Ned.

Mere coincidence? I guess we’ll find out by the end of the month. For now, it seems fans of cajun food might have to look elsewhere to get their fix!

***

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A brand new awning sporting the words “Ned’s Bayou” has appeared over the former Blick’s Art Supplies location at 612 N High St in the Short North.

While initial searches have turned up little information about this forthcoming business, we can only assume that this will one day be the sight of a Louisiana-inspired restaurant of some sort.

Then again, the word “Bayou” carries other connotations. Maybe this will be the Short North’s first-ever spot for gator rasslin’. Only time will tell!

614NOW will keep an eye peeled for more info on this business as it becomes available.

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Food & Drink

614NOW Fried Chicken Trail: Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken

Mike Thomas

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First came the 614NOW Donut Trail. Then, there was the Mac & Cheese Trail. Now, 614NOW is on the hunt for the best fried chicken this city has to offer. Welcome to the 614NOW Fried Chicken Trail!

Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken

1333 Northwest Blvd

This unpretentious Grandview-area joint is serving up the same fried chicken that made its first location in Warren Ohio a hit since its opening in 1956.

It’s no surprise that the central Ohio Nick’s location is slinging classic fried chicken worthy of its old-school pedigree. Nick’s Greek is exactly what many people long for when they think “fried chicken” – pressure-fried bird that is crispy on the outside and delectably juicy inside.

Be warned – this chicken is so good, you will be locked in that hopeless balancing act of trying to take bites without burning the inside of your mouth.

The crust on Uncle Nick’s chicken is so crispy, it seems like it would never go soft even if you left it in a closed container for an hour. This also means that the juices inside the meat have nowhere to hide, and are perfectly preserved within.

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Fried chicken places are notoriously tight with their secret recipes, but if I had to guess, I’d say that much this chicken’s seasoning comes care of a generous brining. As a result, the meat is salty and mild, allowing the natural flavors of the chicken to shine. Notably, a motto hanging on the wall of the place states, “If the Colonel had our recipe, he’d be a general.” I find no fault in this statement.

Was there just grease on the lens, or was this chicken actually glowing?

Uncle Nick’s is the kind of spot you’ll want to take a friend who has never experienced “real deal” fried chicken. While I preferred the dark meat (owner/operator Andrew Cleary was kind enough to hook me up with a half-bird’s worth of pieces) all of it was head-and-shoulders above any fast-food chains in terms of texture and flavor.

Ratings:
Aroma:🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5 drumsticks)
Flavor: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Seasoning: 🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5)
Crispiness: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Overall Experience: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)

Uncle Nick’s Fried Chicken scores a hearty 23/25 on our rating scale. Get out there and see for yourself why this spot is a favorite catering option for the Ohio State Buckeyes Football squad!

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