No place loves a new chain restaurant like Utah. We have lots of good home-grown eats, but we love it when we are noticed by the guys who made it big on the coasts. The thing is, chain restaurants have changed. Americans have moved on from looking for the cheapest and fastest. We’re still eschewing formality, but quality is a must.
IF YOU GO
Address: 11020 S. State St., Sandy
Remember when In ’N’ Out moved here? That line of cars jamming up the parking lot to get through the drive-thru lane? Our thrill over the West Coast Burger Invasion has waned.
Now, the East Coast Burger Invasion has begun: Shake Shack, the much bally-hooed burger place dreamed up by restaurant… magnate? Guru? Danny Meyer has opened in Sandy. There’s not a drive-thru window but the line of people standing outside to for a burger, fries and frozen custard shake is long.
But go ahead—gut it up and get in line.
Shake Shack is housed in part of the old Valley high school—the original brick walls are still visible and the indentations that used to hold chalkboards now hold menu boards listing burgers, hotdogs and—recently introduced!—chicken nuggets. As well as flavors of shakes and concretes.
The day we visited, the special shake of the day was black sesame seed. See? It really is a restaurant rooted in Brooklyn.
The burgers are good—made from three cuts of beef and sourced as locally as possible, according to spec. No antibiotics, no hormones, etc. Fries are crinkle-cut—I personally prefer skin-on hand-cut skinny fries, but these are good and an attempted switch to hand-cut fries was “one of the worst mistakes we made,” said the manager. People love the nostalgia of crinkle-cut and Meyer is a smart guy—he listens.
In nice weather, the big garage doors on the east side open and there’s a shuffleboard court outside. Corn hole is also available and the concrete space is considered a playground. There’s also a stack of board games—remember how to play Sorry!—if you want to linger over your burger meal. Right now, the dining area, when all 143 seats are taken, sounds like a school cafeteria; it’s a little hard to imagine lingering. But, again according to the manager, Shake Shack isn’t a fast food restaurant, although the kitchen aims for an eight-minute serve time. It’s a genre called fine casual—“We have our roots in fine dining.”
Shimmy on down to Shake Shack. And rest assured, more are on the way.
See all of our food and drink coverage here.