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After a 2-year struggle, the beloved chain will be coming to the terminal’s dining concourse
It took two years, multiple lawsuits, and an eviction notice, but after a lengthy struggle, Shake Shack, restaurateur Danny Meyer’s beloved New York-based hamburger and hot dog chain, will be coming to New York’s Grand Central Terminal, Crain’s reports.
The location, which will be the city’s eighth, will be opening later this year in the space that was recently vacated by Zócalo, a Mexican eatery that had occupied that location for 15 years.
As might have been expected, Zócalo didn’t go down without a fight. The restaurant’s owner, Robert Shapiro, who also owns two locations of Flex Mussels, filed for bankruptcy last fall after suing the Metropolitan Transportation Administration over unfair bidding practices. A court order finally forced him to vacate the premises on April 31, and Shake Shack took over the space May 1.
"We are pleased to be able to move forward at last with our ongoing effort to re-bid the retail spaces in Grand Central," an MTA spokesman told Crain’s. "Doing so in a regularized, periodic way ensures that the public receives the maximum benefit for this valuable retail space."
This will be the first Midtown East location for the growing chain, which is slowly leaving its footprint all across New York City (a new location is also expected to open near Brooklyn’s Barclays Center later this year), the country (another is coming to Las Vegas), and the world (Istanbul, anyone?).
MTA Approves New Apple and Shake Shack Stores for Grand Central
Apple is cleared to open its latest location in Grand Central Terminal after the MTA approved the move Wednesday. View Full Caption
MANHATTAN — Grand Central Terminal is about to become a little hipper and tastier.
The Apple Store and Shake Shack were greenlighted to move into the station this fall during a full MTA board meeting Wednesday.
No board member voted against the plan, according to an MTA spokesman.
"Our four stores in Manhattan are incredibly popular with customers and we're excited to bring the Apple retail experience to this incredible location," an Apple spokesman said earlier this week.
The MTA's Metro-North and Finance committees had voted on Monday to approve the two leases, which MTA Director of Real Estate Jeffrey Rosen described as "game-changers" for the station.
Apple would take over the space now occupied by long-time tenant Metrazur on the east balcony, as well as the northeast balcony, to create a 23,000-square-foot store, reportedly its largest.
The tech company would pay Metrazur $5 million to terminate its lease early, and would then pay the MTA $800,000 in rent in the first year. That amount would increase to $1.043 million in the last year of their 10-year deal. The company would also make substantial investments to retrofit the space, Rosen said.
Unlike many of its other locations, Apple would not construct any type of glass structure around the showroom, according to preliminary plans, which reveal an open design with merchandise displayed along large wood or stone tables and a single glowing "Apple" logo beckoning commuters to the store.
The company would not be permitted to set up merchandise or cashiers adjacent to the balconies' balustrades, so that visitors can still look out across the station, said MTA spokeswoman Margie Anders.
Meanwhile, Midtown Shake Shack-lovers may no longer have to travel to near the Port Authority Bus Terminal to get their burger, fry and frozen custard fix. The chain is poised to replace the Mexican eatery Zocalo on the lower-level dining concourse, where it would occupy a 2,270-square-foot space.
Under a 10-year lease, the Danny Meyer-helmed burger joint would pay $435,000 for their first year, with the total gradually increasing to $567,000 in its last.
While the chain's proposal was not the MTA's highest offer for the space, Rosen said members felt the eatery's drawing power would help to boost business throughout the terminal.
"The opportunity to introduce a Shake Shack at this location is, I think, an exceptionally exciting one," he said.
While committee members did not raise concerns about the potential impact of the chain's famously pungent smells, there were questions about the lines of customers expected to form outside the store.
Rosen said the chain has agreed to begin the lines inside of its space and then to have them snake up the ramp toward the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Rosen said his goal is to create a mix of retailers in the terminal, which is currently seeing a major wave of new tenants, Beer Table Pantry and the Tri Tip Grill.
Shake Shack's Beginnings
Celebrity chef Danny Meyer opened the Shake Shack hot dog stand in 2001 as part of an effort by the city to revitalize Madison Square Park, which had fallen into a state of disrepair and misuse. The location of the stand was ideal, situated near investment bank Credit Suisse's New York City headquarters, and one block from the iconic Flatiron building.
Soon after the original cart opened, people began lining up daily during the lunchtime hours. At the time, expanding beyond the hot dog cart was not a priority. However, the city wanted to add permanent fixtures to Madison Square Park as part of its revitalization efforts and began actively soliciting bids for potential projects.
In July 2004, Meyer won the bid and was able to convert the hot dog cart into a permanent, kiosk-style fast food restaurant. Shake Shack served gourmet hamburgers, hot dogs, crinkle-cut french fries, and milkshakes under the umbrella of the Union Square Hospitality Group, operator of a number of the city's best upscale restaurants, including the nearby Eleven Madison Park.
The original Shake Shack location was designed by the architecture firm SITE Environmental Design to exist in harmony with the design of the park, as well as its urban surroundings. Modeled after a classic roadside burger stand, the restaurant experienced immediate success. People would often create a line that stretched around the park, sometimes waiting two or even three hours to reach the counter.
Before long, people were coming from all over the world to eat at Shake Shack. A webcam was installed at the restaurant, known as the "shack cam," which allowed people to check on the length of the line before deciding whether or not to join it. The restaurant was not originally designed to be part of a chain it was designed specifically for New York City.
A Food & Drink Guide To Grand Central Terminal
Each day, thousands of people converge on Grand Central Terminal some are rushing to catch a train, others are simply content to gaze up at the magnificent zodiac ceiling as crowds swirl around them. Others are there to eat, as the Terminal boasts dozens of restaurants, kiosks, stalls and shops where you can procure everything from a 40 ounce steak to a basket of tomatoes to a frothy cappuccino, all under one beautiful, Beaux-Arts roof. Below, a selection of our favorite dining destinations within the hallowed walls, where there's always something new to discover down one of the myriad passageways and tunnels that course through the building.
The Dining Concourse (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
THE DINING CONCOURSE Nestled below the bustle of the Main Concourse lies the Dining Concourse, a food court-style cornucopia of eateries, bars and kiosks boasting all kinds of goodies to nourish the body and/or get you a little tipsy before your train to Poughkeepsie. Several spots include their own seating areas with waitress service and a more personalized dining experience but there are also plenty of places to perch inside the beautifully decorated public seating areas, which are vaguely reminiscent of a well-appointed train car. We all know about that Shake Shack, but what other gems are waiting to fuel your Metro-North adventure?
Central Market New York (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Central Market New York: This family-owned sandwich shop eschews flabby deli meats in favor of daily meat specials, which are roasted in-house and sliced to order. Patrons can opt to design their own sandwiches from a variety of cheeses and other toppings, or take the eatery's suggested pairings, which include Pork Loin with brie and mango chutney on ciabatta (Tuesdays) or Chicken Thighs with tostones and mango (Wednesdays). Their grilled cheese menu is also a hit, especially the fresh mozzarella and prosciutto version ($6.95) served pressed on ciabatta.
When it's time to unwind, they offer more than half a dozen wines by the half bottle or personal bottle plus seasonal sangrias and craft beer on tap if you have a group and time to kill, opt for any of their tap beers served in "Beer Towers" for $45.
Shiro of Japan (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Shiro of Japan: It's a literal smorgasbord of sushi at this grab-and-go kiosk, where there are dozens of rolls to select from simple salmon maki to more complex rolls with tempura shrimp or spicy tuna or vegetable medleys. Their popular "Track Boxes" feature several types of rolls in one box if you're looking for variety they'll also make any combination you want to order if you don't see your favorite in the case. In addition to sushi, try a hot noodle soup, seaweed salad or rice bowl.
Two Boots (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Two Boots Pizzeria: Tucked away in one corner of the concourse is this little outpost of NYC's favorite funky pie slinger. On first glance, you may just see the pizza counter, where you can procure slices like the vegan Earth Mother or Mr. Pink with chicken, garlic, mozzarella and tomatoes. Look deeper into that corner and you'll discover a miniature version of their proper restaurants, complete with zany decor and a full bar. There you can order full pies and sandwiches or just sip on a martini before your train, as a gentleman on a recent visit was doing.
Manhattan Chili Company (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Manhattan Chili Company: Even if you don't eat the meats you can still enjoy a comforting bowl of chili from this fully-stocked bar, which boasts all manner of chilis from traditional beef to lamb to turkey to vegan options. A fiery Texas version is one of the stand's most popular—we'll forgive their inclusion of beans since the flavors are otherwise on point—as is the High Plains, made with tender ground turkey. Regardless the fillings, everything is all natural with no added sugar and animal proteins like the beef are grass fed. Chilis come in a variety of sizes and can be adorned with toppings like cheese, sour cream and veggies similarly, items like hot dogs, corn bread and mac & cheese can be slathered in your choice of their many chilis.
The Market (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
THE MARKET: Did you know there's a place to do all your gourmet grocery shopping mere steps from the subway entrance? Well, there is, and you can, inside the Terminal's open, multi-store market located outside the Main Concourse. Inside are all manner of purveyors selling fresh fish, breads, cheeses, meats, chocolates and a whole lot more. Price-wise, it's not the local Met Foods, but prices are comparable to Fairway, Whole Foods and the like plus for sheer convenience it can't be beat, whether you have last-minute house guests or need something fresh and funky to bring as a hostess gift.
Pescatore Seafood Co. (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Pescatore Seafood Co: If fresh fish is what you desire, the lovely staff at this beautiful seafood palace are happy to help you. They were the first lease signed when the market debuted since then they've built a loyal following of fish fans, some of whom stop by daily to grab the freshest catch. From recommending a filet of the day or doing the hard work for you with their pre-cooked selection, Pescatore won't let you walk away empty handed. They also have a large selection of pre-made items like incredibly fresh seafood spring rolls (try the poached salmon or shrimp) and seafood salads that make for a refreshing and healthful meal on the quick.
Spices and Tease (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Spices and Tease: If the intoxicating fragrance doesn't completely win you over, the sight of bowl after bowl of beautifully-hued spices, spice blends and teas definitely will. For those whose experience with spice is limited to jars, this stall is a game changer, allowing you to see and smell the spices you're buying before making a commitment. They offer spices by weight, too, which means instead of buying one full $7 jar of cardamom you only need for one recipe, you can buy an amount tailor-made to suit the recipe you're using. The kiosk offers "70 original spices and seeds, 180 exotic imported teas, 30 varieties of homemade spice blends, 18 different types of peppers, 13 types of gourmet salt and 25 herbs and botanical plants."
Li-Lac Chocolates (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Li-Lac Chocolates: This 90-year-old confectionery recently opened a new Brooklyn factory, allowing them to expand their operations at both GCT and their Jane Street outlet. At the shop you'll find delights like addictive almond bark and butter crunch candies, salted caramels and chocolate-covered orange peels, plus specialty truffles, cherry cordials and marshmallow bars. They also boast an extensive collection of chocolate molds, from animals to fashion to King Kong, which you can order in advance for a quick gift to pick up at the Terminal.
Murray's Cheese (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Murray's Cheese: What more can we say about Murray's cheese that we haven't already said? The fromagerie's second shop inside the Market just got a nice expansion, so there are even more curds on hand from the sharpest of cheddars to the creamiest of camemberts and all the varieties in between. In addition to the cheese, they're also totally stocked up on yogurts, butters and other dairy delights, plus charcuterie, dried pastas, crackers and all the fixings to make an excellent cheese plate or fancy picnic.
Eli Zabar's (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Eli Zabar's Bread & Pastry / Farm to Table: Bookending the market are two offerings from NYC's most famous grocer, offering up prepared foods like salads, vegetarian pizzas and dried fruit, nuts and granolas or raw items including juicy heirloom tomatoes and produce, crusty baguettes and fresh flowers. Less virtuous items including fresh-baked pies, cookies and cakes can also be procured, as well as pantry staples like flour and sugar for DIY dessert.
THE RESTAURANTS & BARS
courtesy Grand Central Oyster Bar
Grand Central Oyster Bar: The most famous of all the Terminal's eateries, this iconic seafood restaurant just reopened following a little facelift to its beautiful Rafael Guastavino arches. The old gal's looking better than ever and still serving up solid seafood options from fried seafood platters to whole lobsters to their extensive raw bar, stocked with plenty of oysters, naturally. Enjoying a glass of buttery Chardonnay while slurping a few briny bivalves is one of the most quintessentially New York experiences.
Tomahawk Steak for two at Michael Jordan's The Steak House (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Michael Jordan's The Steak House: Chances are slim you'll spot His Airness devouring a Tomahawk on your visit, but you'll be too distracted peering down at the busy ants making their way through the Main Concourse below or gazing up at the constellations on the ceiling to even notice. On the menu you'll find traditional steakhouse fare like Shrimp Cocktail ($18), a burger ($23) and of course large hunks of meat, including a Boneless Rib Eye ($41), a Marinated Skirt Steak ($30) and the enormous Porterhouse for Two ($89). In addition to the restaurant, the balcony bar offers a more casual spot to sip and sup, and the small wine alcove sets the scene for tastings and small parties throughout the year.
The Campbell Apartment (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
The Campbell Apartment: With access to this stately bar tucked inside a passageway on Vanderbilt Avenue, it's safe to say this hidden gem won't be flooded with tourists looking for a quick beer as they check off landmarks in their guidebooks. Ascend the carpeted staircase and find a watering hole seemingly unchanged from the 1920s. The space boasts ceiling-high windows, an enormous stone fireplace, a gorgeous wood ceiling and the feeling that you've been let in on a little secret. Cocktails fit the atmosphere as well, like their signature Prohibition Punch ($19), a potent mix of several spirits that softens the blow of its hefty price tag. It should be noted that the bar enforces a dress code that prohibits such vulgar attire as T-shirts, shorts and baseball caps.
Cipriani Dolci: Across the balcony from Michael Jordan's you'll find one of many offshoots of this Italian restaurant group, which caters to the after-work set with its large bar area overlooking the Main Concourse. Things can get hectic on the landing but diners and drinkers are safely tucked away from most of the mayhem and left to sip bellinis and munch on dishes like Pappardelle alla Bolognese or Grilled Mediterranean Branzino in relative peace.
THE SHOPS: Scattered throughout the terminal, these often tiny kiosks provide both retail outlets for food gifts, groceries and other goods, as well as a place to grab a quick coffee, pastry or sandwich if you're just running through. There are dozens tucked away in the stately passages on the main level of the terminal, like a very high-end shopping mall for things to eat.
Joe the Art of Coffee (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Joe the Art of Coffee: There are an incredible amount of coffee shops at the Terminal, including this tiny gem that serves some beautiful and delicious lattes to the commuter set. During peak times, expect a bit of a line, but the creamy, frothy drinks turned out by the talented baristas are worth the wait. A small latte sets you back $3.75 but a ginormous drip coffee runs just $2.50 they also sell Doughnut Plant goodies in addition to muffins, croissants and other pastries. Note: cash only.
Beer Table To Go (Navid Baraty/Gothamist)
Beer Table To Go: The Brooklyn outpost of this suds shop closed but their satellite beer operation inside the Graybar Passage is still going strong. The retail shop offers both bottle and tap beers to go, making that commute to Connecticut a little more reasonable. Opt for either a single bottle or mix-and-match your own six pack of brews from dozens of different beers, all of which are kept chilled for immediate consumption. Their draft program features a rotating selection of six brews, three to four of which are usually produced in New York state. Grab a growler to go—they offer neoprene sleeves for longer journeys—or a single pint kept sturdy inside a lidded mason jar. They also sell little snacks like beer chocolate and McClure's potato chips to accompany your brew.
courtesy Cafe Grumpy
Cafe Grumpy: If you require a little more Brooklyn cred with your caffeine, the Lena Dunham-approved coffee shop recently opened a GCT outpost inside the Lexington Passage, ousting a Starbucks in the process. Sip the byproduct of sustainably-sourced beans, which are roasted and shuttled over the bridge to the Terminal. They also offer their own house-baked pastries, including a new Commuter Combo that gives you a 12 ounce coffee plus a scone or muffin for just $5.50 on Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
O&CO.: Knowing that the provenance of one's olive oil should always be questioned, why not shop at a place where they've already done the legwork for you? This French shop sells olive oils from all over the Mediterranean, like the decadent Rameaux D'Or from France and the more casual Everyday Olive Oil from Spain. In addition to the 23 different types of oil, the shop also offers other olive products like tapenades and vinegars for a killer salad dressing.
Per turnover: 325 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated), 443 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 4 g protein
The apple turnover looks comparable to a McDonald's apple pie, except thicker and a little bigger. It's made with a thick yet flaky dough, and one of our staffers said that dough was more on the savory side. Overall, the filling isn't too sweet and doesn't leave much of a mess — perfect if you're enjoying your breakfast pastry on the go.
But with 46 grams of carbs and only 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, this is sure to spike your blood sugar only to come crashing down later — not a good idea if you're looking to avoid a mid-morning slump.
Shake Shack — Grand Central
Danny Meyer continues to expand the Shake Shack empire with this location in the hub of Grand Central Terminal's dining concourse. Meyer opened the original Shake Shack as a novel way to bring high quality summer food (burgers, fries, hot dogs, shake. more
Danny Meyer continues to expand the Shake Shack empire with this location in the hub of Grand Central Terminal's dining concourse. Meyer opened the original Shake Shack as a novel way to bring high quality summer food (burgers, fries, hot dogs, shakes) to the masses. The burgers are juicy and come on a great bun the fries are crisp and tasty and the caramel shakes and coffee shakes are especially delicious. Quality has its price obviously Danny Meyer does not create McDonalds-style fast food. The seating can be incredibly pleasant or tedious it depends entirely on who is dining in your proximity. Beer and wine are also available.
Shake Shack — Grand Central is located in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan. Midtown West
From the hustle of the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the bustle of Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street, much of New York's dazzling vibrancy and energy emanates from this area stretching from Times Square to Central Park South. Packed with theaters, tourist attractions and tall office buildings, the buzz and glow of the city are most obvious amid the huge neon signs, giant wraparound news tickers (ABC News has a studio location here) and Broadway marquees. After braving the crowds of pop-obsessed teeny boppers gathered around MTV Studios visit the Hershey’s Time Square Store to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or grab a bite to eat at typical tourist meccas like TGI Friday's or the Dave & Buster's.
A stroll up Broadway, whether in the early morning or late at night, passes by some of America's most cherished institutions, and the number of glowing lights are rivaled only by the Las Vegas Strip. Little wonder that Mondrian's inspiration for "Broadway Boogie-Woogie" came from this amazing array of places and colors some of the facades literally scream out at the visitor as though ready to burst out from the grid of Midtown's streets and fly into orbit!
If you need a respite from the sensory overstimulation of Times Square, visit the New York Public Library. The majestic Beaux-Arts building, flanked by the two famous marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, has been the heart and soul of the New York library system for nearly a century. It’s great for a little peace and quiet, and of course a great read. The library is to adjacent Bryant Park, which is a lovely patch of green in the middle of skyscraper territory. Among the amenities available to visitors are a French-style carousel, a boule board, chess tables, free summer movie screening, over 25,000 varieties of flowers, the Bryant Park Grill, and free wireless access, as well as 2,000 moveable chairs.
Midtown West is also home to Radio City Music Hall (home to world-famous dancers, the Rockettes), Museum of Television and Radio, Museum of Modern Art, Carnegie Hall and the newly renovated Museum of Arts & Design. These extraordinary cultural institutions play host year-round to natives and tourists alike, so catch an eye-catching exhibit or enjoy a symphony and bask in some of New York’s greatest artistic offerings.
There's also no shortage of restaurants in the area. For some excellent French fare try La Bergamote, which is known for its vast menu, with nearly 30 types of luxurious French pastries, six sorts of croissants, over a dozen types of breads as well as diverse handmade chocolates. For dinner try Aquavit, the country's preeminent Scandinavian restaurant. There really are too many dining options to list, but click here to check out entire listings of restaurant in the Midtown area.
If you're looking to spend your stay in New York right in the heart of Midtown, there are plenty of hotel options. The DoubleTree by Hilton is located right in Times Square, as is the sophisticated Park Central New York. And for the more budget conscious traveler there's the Comfort Inn Midtown and the Portland Square Hotel.
Midtown East stretches from 42nd Street north to 59th, and East of Fifth Avenue to the East River. The area is populated with some of New York’s most iconic landmarks. While walking along 42nd Street and Park Avenue a visit to Grand Central Station is certainly in order, for Grand Central is one of the most stunning railroad stations in America. Walk in to admire its stunning brass clock, the exquisite staircases, and the unique celestial ceiling, its light bluish-green background filled with well-known constellations dotted with tiny lights. Restored in recent years, the cavernous main hall is bathed in natural light during the day, and pulsates with activity at night, thanks not least to its three busy restaurants: Michael Jordan's Steakhouse, Metrazur, and the famous Oyster Bar. Another superb restaurant in the area includes the Benjamin Steakhouse, housed inside the ornate 1903 Beaux-Arts Dylan Hotel. There's also Sparks Steak House which is known for not only its massive steaks, but its massive wine list as well.
The gorgeous Chrysler Building (which turned 75 in 2005) is also nearby. In the bright sunlight, the upper floors gleam, reflect, and even seem to pulsate light, directing the eye upwards towards the spire. Its gorgeous Art Deco lobby, with murals celebrating transportation themes, is definitely one of New York’s finest. Examine the ornamental details, the typical Deco motifs, the lush marble, and the charming light fixtures, all restored in recent years. You’ll also definitely want to visit Rockefeller Center. The plaza, adorned with Paul Manship’s massive golden 1934 statue of Prometheus contains the world-famous ice skating rink and of course is home to the giant Christmas tree every December, making it a must-see holiday destination. While you’re in the neighborhood take a tour of the United Nations and get a behind-the scenes look at the diplomacy in action at the global meeting place of the General Assembly and Security Council.
Midtown East is also home to some of the world's most well known department stores, including Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman and of course the original Saks Fifth Avenue. All those retailers have an extraordinary selection of upscale goods and are considered classic, can’t-go-wrong stops for any shopaholic. So take your time strolling through this quintessential region of Manhattan - explore those famous landmarks, have a stop for lunch, and then proceed to do a little upscale shopping.
Midtown East is an ideal neighborhood to spend your stay in New York, as the area is full of attractions and iconic landmarks. The beautiful, Art Deco styled Roosevelt Hotel is just four blocks from the Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall and within walking distance of Times Square and Museum of Modern Art. There's also the Grand Hyatt, which is located right near the United Nations and St. Patrick's Cathedral. The spacious and elegant Dylan Hotel, as well as the W New York – The Tuscany are other exceptional options. Click here for a complete list of hotels in close proximity to Midtown East.
With Apple, Shake Shack On Board, Grand Central Will Be Home To Longest. Lines. Ever.
The t's still need to be crossed and the i's dotted, but once the full board votes on Wednesday it looks like all those rumors will be true: Apple and Shake Shack are coming to Grand Central Terminal. The MTA's director of real estate, Jeffrey Rosen, confirmed the news today and let slip a bit of new information about the newest additions to the terminal, pointing out that the newcomers will further “not only a digital, but a cheeseburger divide” between the soaring terminal and its ugly sibling across town, Penn Station.
The new Apple store will be the company's largest and will fill not only the Metrazur space (which Apple is paying $5 million to have it vacate its lease early) but also a space next door which is currently vacant.
The Shake Shack, meanwhile, will take over the Zocalo space downstairs. And it famously long lines have been a special trick for the MTA, which expects so many customers to line up for those tasty burgers that it has had to “devise a special crowd control plan that will entail queuing on the Oyster Bar ramp” according to planning documents.
All in all, good news for fans of popular electronics, burgers and lines. Or, as Rosen put it, “I can’t imagine why any kid in Westchester would want to do anything other than go into Grand Central and shop at Apple and eat at Shake Shack.”
Shake Shack Gobbling Grand Central?
We take it back. Yesterday, when it was confirmed that Apple would be coming to Grand Central Terminal, The Observer declared the marriage of two of our favorite things. Nothing could be better. Except maybe if we could gnaw on a Shack Burger while perusing the glass cube, greasing up all the iScreens.
“As we expand Shake Shack we are looking to make our home in vibrant locations throughout New York City and beyond,” she said. “We are interested in exploring the idea of bringing a Shake Shack to Grand Central, and have responded to the MTA’s [request for proposals].”
The chain, which serves raved-about burgers, fries, frozen custards and shakes, is reportedly eyeing the Zocalo space on the Lower Level Dining Concourse, according to Gothamist.com, which first reported Shake Shack’s plan.
The spokeswoman described the terminal, which is seeing a major influx of new tenants, including Beer Table Pantry and the Tri Tip Grill, as “a spectacularly beautiful historic landmark that serves as both a transportation hub and cultural point of interest for residents, commuters and tourists alike.
The choice makes a lot of sense. Not only is the place clogged with commuters, tourists and lines, lines, lines, but it’s one of the city’s architectural gems—the perfect place for David Swinghamer, Shake Shack’s boss and a trained architect no less whom The Observer profiled last year.
Oregon's First Shake Shack Will Open in Downtown's West End
With Portland's restaurant industry on the verge of total annihilation, it's shocking to hear about new developments coming down the pipe. And this one's a doozy: Shake Shack, the international burger titan, has plans to open its first Oregon storefront in the heart of downtown Portland, right across from Powell's Books.
The Daily Journal of Commerce was the first to spot site plans and renderings filed with Portland's Bureau of Development Services for 1016 W. Burnside St, currently The Vitamin Shoppe, boasting a 4,976-square-foot footprint, not including its sizable parking lot. (Side note: it's also right across the street from the Portland Monthly offices—yes, we accept free milkshakes!). Per DJC: "Parking on the north portion of the site would be removed and replaced with an approximately 860-square-foot, covered patio area with seating and an approximately 2,500-square-foot, uncovered outdoor area with tables, terraced seating, a fixed ping-pong table, and short-term bicycle parking."
For those who've been living under a rock for the last 20 years: Shake Shack is an American fast food chain launched by New York mega restaurateur Danny Meyer (Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, Eleven Madison Park, etc.). His first "location"—a hot dog stand in Madison Square Park—was introduced in 2001, rapidly expanding across the country and, later, internationally. Today, Shake Shack has some 249 locations around the globe, Grand Central Station to Kuwait.
But Portland is a serious burger town—one suspicious of east coast hype. With local burger moguls like Super Deluxe's Micah Camden expanding their reach, Shake Shack had better bring its A-game. That is, assuming restaurants are able to recover after the pandemic. A future where only Shake Shacks remain in a scrappy, DIY city like Portland? Not a pretty picture.
Shake Shack was not immediately available for comment at the time of this posting.
Just Like MetroNorth Trains, Arrival of Shake Shack in Grand Central Will Be Delayed
History has shown us that when being invaded, one party’s failure to cooperate seldom ends peacefully. Although in this instance World War Three won’t be the outcome, for some New Yorkers, it may feel like it: Shake Shack is not coming to Grand Central just yet.
A legal battle is looking certain as Grand Central Mexican restaurant Zócalo has refused to vacate its space in the terminal to make way for the new Shake Shack, according to Crain’s. Last summer, word of the famous burger franchise’s intentions of moving into the landmark leaked out like a melting shake, but a year later there are still no shackstacks available in its marble corridors.
“Zócalo is desperately pursuing any possible means to remain in possession of space it no longer has the legal right to occupy, contrary to the legal rights of the MTA and Shake Shack,” an MTA spokesman told Crain’s. He noted that a civil court in a landlord-tenant proceeding already ruled that the Mexican eatery is in unlawful possession of the space, since its lease has expired.
In the current lawsuit, Mr. Shapiro, who also owns two Flex Mussels restaurants in the city, alleges that because Shake Shack is a chain that operates 14 locations, including outposts in Dubai and Kuwait City, it is ineligible for the spot under the request for proposals restrictions. The request limited bidders to chains with fewer than 10 operating locations, according to the suit.
Like in invasions of the past everybody loses. Owner Danny Meyer must wait to open his 6th Manhattan shack. A mediocre Mexican restaurant looks to be entering a legal battle it cannot win but most importantly it could well be another year before commuters will be able to get their hands on one of the coveted patties.