photo: Shake Shack

If you’ve never heard of Shake Shack, that’s all about to change. The restaurant started in a literal metal shack in New York City in 2004 and served up traditional Chicago-style hot dogs, “roadside” hamburgers and “concretes” (frozen custards with mix-ins). The lines got longer and longer as the restaurant’s popularity built to a fever pitch. Luckily, you no longer need to book a trip to the Big Apple to indulge in a ShackBurger because they have brought the shack to UTC Mall for hungry San Diegans to enjoy. But does it live up to the hype? Read on to find out!

photo: Michelle Franklin

Burger, Veggie Burger and Hot Dog Lovers Rejoice!
Although the menu is pretty typical for a burger joint, the food sounds so amazing it will be hard not to say “One of everything, please.” Their all-natural Angus burgers start basic and build from there. ShackBurgers add cheese and special sauce, SmokeShacks include Niman Ranch bacon. Vegetarians can opt for the ‘Shroom Burger, which features a fried portobello mushroom filled with cheese. And the Shack Stack? Well, that combines the best of everything: a cheeseburger topped with a ‘shroom burger.

If franks are more your thing, there’s the Shack-cago Dog featuring pickles, relish, tomatoes and mustard and the chicken dog—a chicken, apple and sage sausage made especially for the Shack. Other savory items include a chicken sandwich (spicy or not) and crinkle-cut fries–– served plain or topped with cheese or bacon & cheese.

photo: Michelle Franklin

For Small Fries
While they don’t have a specific kids menu, you won’t have a problem finding something your crew will devour. Shake Shack is also willing to customize their food, so if your finicky eater insists on a plain burger slathered in ketchup or a hot dog with no bun, the kitchen is happy to oblige. And even though it’s not listed, don’t be afraid to ask for the off-menu grilled cheese sandwich made with American cheese and hamburger buns.

photo: Michelle Franklin

Save Room For Dessert!
Make sure you save room for dessert! They don’t call it the ‘Shake’ Shack for nothing. Their hand-spun shakes are rich and creamy and come in classic flavors like vanilla, peanut butter and salted caramel. They also have featured shakes like cookies ‘n’ cream. If you want something even more indulgent, try one of their concretes with an array of mix-ins. The Hopscotch includes chocolate toffee, dark chocolate and caramel sauce, while the S’more Peanut Butter Please has peanut butter sauce and a s’more bar from local favorite San Diego bakery Elizabethan Desserts.

Whet Your Whistle
Wash it all down with craft beers from San Diego and Brooklyn, including Modern Times, Latitude 33 and their very own Brooklyn Shackmeister. If you need a caffeine kick, they pour Stumptown cold brew, a variety of sodas and iced tea. Kids can sip Honest Kids apple juice.

Doggie Bag
And because we love our dogs, there’s a special “Woof” section on the menu featuring the Pooch-ini: a dog biscuit, peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard.

photo: Michelle Franklin

Local Influence
Not all Shake Shacks are created equally. Each location tries to embrace the style of its city. For UTC that means a light, airy dining area with ample patio seating. Bright green highlights play off the metal accents and wood tables (made from reclaimed wood) for a relaxed but modern feel–just like our hometown.

More importantly, Shake Shack partners with local businesses and non-profits. In addition to the local beers they serve and the Elizabethan Desserts s’mores bars, they’ve also partnered with Betty’s Pie Whole Saloon. When you order the Pie Oh My — a seasonal slice of Betty’s pie topped with frozen custard — five percent of the sales will support I Love a Clean San Diego.

photo: Dianne A via Yelp

San Diegans love burgers and with Shake Shack in town, we now have another amazing option when the craving strikes. With a cult following and so many tempting choices, long lines may be unavoidable for the foreseeable future. But you can cut down on wait times by arriving right at opening or by ordering via Shake App, which should launch for UTC soon.

Shake Shack
4309 La Jolla Village Dr., #2350
San Diego, Ca 92122
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Have you been to Shake Shack yet? Let us know what your favorite menu item is in the comments.

––Michelle Franklin