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Prepare For The Long Lines As Shake Shack Is Coming To The Philippines In 2019

With one post, Shake Shack made it official. This global burger chain is finally setting up its “shack” in Manila by early 2019, thanks to luxury retailer Store Specialists Inc. (SSI) responsible for bringing the U.S.-based Shack for the first time to Southeast Asia. And not surprisingly, Filipino netizens are ecstatic!



With Shake Shack’s near-cult burger status, expect the lines to be epic. That’s exactly how I got my first taste of a Shake Shack burger—standing in line for more than an hour in near freezing temperature at the first ever branch in Madison Square Park in New York City, soon after it opened shop in 2004. Before it constructed this stand-alone store, Shake Shack operated as a modest hot dog cart for several years at the same location. But even then, that hot dog cart had serious food cred behind it from the start.

Shake Shack is the brainchild of legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group that has been running many of New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants, from Gramercy Tavern to Union Square Café, to newer ones like The Modern and Marta.

So what is all the fuss about Shake Shack? That was the question bugging me that one wintry day in New York more than a decade ago as I shivered in line waiting impatiently for my turn to order. I got myself a simple cheeseburger, fries and, if my memory serves me right, a vanilla milkshake (yes, during winter!).


Burger, fries, and shake at the Tokyo branch


In the early 2000s when no one in fast food was talking about quality and traceability of ingredients, there was Shake Shack extolling the benefits of 100% all-natural Angus beef free of hormones and additives; non-GMO potatoes; all-natural Vienna beef for the hotdogs; frozen custards using milk with no growth hormones—and all prepared fresh onsite. Remember, in those days, burger chains were all about frozen beef patties and frozen pre-cut fries where sourcing of ingredients was all about cost and convenience rather than quality. Simply put, Shake Shack’s modest kiosk in New York City was a game changer in the fast food and fast casual industry, standing by its principles of good, fresh food using the best ingredients available, and at a price only slightly higher than your run-of-the-mill fast food chain.

Fast forward to 2018, Shake Shack has grown exponentially, spinning off from its parent company to become a publicly-listed company in 2015, and opening more than 150 branches in the United States and around the world—with the first Philippine branch coming soon!


Shake Shack in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo


And how was my first taste of a ShackBurger cheeseburger? Soft as butter potato roll, juicy and just-right greasy beef patty, fresh still-crunchy lettuce and tomato—worth the wait, definitely. Since that first bite, I make sure to drop by a Shake Shack whenever I get the chance. My last taste was earlier this year at the Roppongi Hills branch in Tokyo. The burger was just as good, and the crinkle-cut French fries even better.

For sure, you’ll find me lining up as soon as the Manila branch opens, with fingers crossed that Shake Shack Manila will deliver as close to the same topnotch quality that I first enjoyed in New York.


Photos of Shake Shack in Tokyo by Nana Ozaeta