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.