When I walked up to Shake Shack’s new Buffalo St. storefront around 10:00 a.m. this morning, it was a balmy 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and a line of people were already queuing up around the corner of the building.
The first person in line, Zach Nelsen, had been waiting outside since 11:40 p.m. the night before. The 20-year-old is no stranger to to the franchise. “I’ve had it in New York City, Chicago, Boston and Vegas,” he says. “Whenever I’m in a Shake Shack market I get it.”
And, after more than 10 hours of waiting, he knew exactly what he’d be ordering when he finally stepped inside: a ShackBurger, a Chick’n Shack and an order of cheese fries.
The store (220 E. Buffalo) officially opened at 11 a.m. today. The first 50 people inside got a free burger. The rest got the satisfaction of sampling burgers, fries and frozen custard from the popular franchise’s newest location, the only one in Wisconsin, before nearly anyone else.
I didn’t join them in line, partly because I needed to write up this article, and partly because I’m a wimp who doesn’t like waiting outside in the cold. But a few Mil Mag staffers had a chance to sample some of the store’s menu items last night. Here’s what they thought:
“I had a burger with a brat on it (a colleague here insists it was a kielbasa, but I disagree). I guess it was supposed to be quintessentially Wisconsin. It was good, and yes, I ate the whole thing, but what I love at Shake Shack is the regular cheeseburger. I’ve been craving that burger since moving here, and I am beside myself with excitement that I can now walk over and have one any old time.”
—Carole Nicksin, editor-in-chief
“When I walked in the door, a burger topped with sausage, bacon AND cheese was put in my hand. Would I ever have ordered a burger with such indulgent toppings? No. Did I enjoy it? Holy Smokes. It was glorious.”
—Jane Stein, sales associate
“In a city that’s so full of mouthwatering burger options, the surprise superstar of last night’s Shake Shack show was the Chick’n Shack. Unhinging your jaw to get a bite of that well-upholstered piece of chicken will soon become an art form in the Third Ward. If not, more for me.”
—Brock Kaplan, designer
“I was pleasantly surprised by the freshness of the lettuce and tomato, and by the fact that they both still had a crunch – considering they were on a deliciously hot cheeseburger within a warm gooey bun.”
—Shannon Dailey, sales associate
Personally, I loved the crispness of the crinkle-cut fries, which came out of the kitchen piping hot and lightly dusted with salt. And I’ll definitely be swinging by the storefront again, when the lines have died down a bit, to try more menu items.