Shake Shack Seattle is just weeks away, and as the company prepares the future home of concretes and ShackBurgers at 2115 Westlake Ave, it's also finalized a few menu items you'll only find here. I was kind of bracing for the captain obvious Shake Shack fish burger, but am delighted to be proved wrong.
What Team Shake Shack has dubbed the Montlake Double Cut is a double cheeseburger topped with Just Jack cheese from Beecher’s, caramelized onions, and a grainy mustard-mayo. Every time the fervently beloved burger chain expands into a new city, it comes up with a few locally rooted menu items that help connect the NYC brand with its new surroundings—a roadside-style burger in Los Angeles, a Texan cheeseburger topped with a griddled jalapeno cheese sausage from Hill Country's famed Kreuz Market.
Usually this is a matter of dressing up the company's standard-issue patties and buns with some local inspiration. Seattle's burger is the first time in Shake Shack history the company has localized the foundational trinity of a good burger—patty, cheese, and bun—says Jeff Amoscato, the VP of supply chain and menu innovation.
Canlis, who has unexpected longtime connections to the burger dynamo, put the Shake Shack team onto Crowd Cow, the Seattle-based online meat retailer who works with small Washington farms. After an intense June day that involved flying from New York to Spokane, then driving across our state to meet ranchers and absorb a crash course on how topography impacts beef flavor, Shake Shack decided to make its first-ever foray outside its own custom-blended patties. Not only does this arrangement allow Shake Shack to tap into small local operations, but Crowd Cow's main business selling higher-end cuts online yields plenty of leftover parts ideal for ground beef.
Macrina sent a bunch of sample buns to New York, and culinary director Mark Rosati zeroed in on a soft one that crisps nicely on the griddle—"just big enough to cradle the meat, but not big enough to overwhelm it." Beecher's cheese is kind of a no-brainer (especially since Seattle's signature cheese also has a New York presence), but Rosati passed on the more common cheeses and opted for the Just Jack. "When it melts, it makes this nice, gooey blanket of cheese," he says, proving himself better at these sorts of descriptions than most professional food writers.
Rosati says he wanted the Seattle burger to be a little heftier than a classic ShackBurger, but still be so carefully considered, that the condiments are supporting players rather than the reason a burger is tasty. "It took us a while to get to Seattle," he allows. "But we wanted to double down on our new city."
A trio of concrete flavors have Seattle bona fides as well. Vanilla custard will get mixed up with slices of seasonal pie from A La Mode Pies, and the Shack Attack flavor sounds like chocolate insanity—chocolate custard, hot fudge, chunks of Theo's dark chocolate, chocolate truffle cookie dough, and—why not—chocolate sprinkles. But my heart beats for the "Coffee and Croissant" vanilla concrete, made with those chunks of dark Theo's, coffee caramel sauce, and brittle made from Sea Wolf croissants. Again, I appreciate that these guys dug deeper than a straight-up coffee-flavored concrete.
The Seattle-focused items will live on the regular Shake Shack menu, available only "in Shack," in company parlance (aka not for delivery or app order). Quantities will be limited on the burger.
News of an official opening day should happen soon, and let us hope that all the attention paid to sourcing this locally inspired burger means Shake Shack has more regional locations on the way.