No place loves a new chain restaurant like Utah. We have lots of good home-grown restaurants, but we love it when we are noticed by the guys who made it big on the coasts. 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. But 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, thus Shake Shack Sandy, Sandy Shake Shack? And while there’s not a drive-thru window, the line of people standing in the hot August sun to order a burger, fries and frozen custard shake is daunting.
Shake Shack Sandy 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 specified 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 switching to hand-cut ones was “one of the worst mistakes we made,” said the manager. The Shack returned to crinkle-cut. The dog is called Chicago-style; I have a quibble about the measly amount of neon-green relish and would say more is required to earn the moniker “Chicago.” But that’s a critic’s quibble and frankly (see what I did?) Shake Shack has no need of a critic.
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.”
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