With New York's iconic Shake Shack opening its first location in Charlotte on Thursday, we grabbed a chance to ask a few questions:
Yes, there is a "secret" menu. No, the new veggie burger isn't available in Charlotte — yet. And no, there isn't a plan to add a third location — yet (but stay tuned).
First, on the secret menu. It's not really secret. They refer to it as "off the menu" items. But there are four to know about. The best, according to store employees, is the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger. That would be the bacon burger (AKA SmokeShack, $6.99 for a single or $9.79 for a double) drizzled with peanut butter sauce. (Sounds weird, but at least one employee swears it's good.)
Also available off the menu: A grilled cheese made with a griddled potato bun, a BLT and the Garden Dog — the Shack-Cago Dog ($4.69), topped with relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, red pepper, celery salt and mustard, wrapped in a lettuce leaf instead of a bun.
While the Park Road location does include the 'Shroom Burger ($6.99), a fried portobello mushroom filled with muenster and cheddar and topped with ShackSauce, it doesn't yet have the Veggie Shack, currently being tested in three locations in New York. That's an actual vegetarian burger patty that's lower in fat and calories than the cheese-loaded crispy mushroom burger. It eventually may be added to the menu at more than 170 locations nationwide.
The Park Road location, at the corner of Park Road and Woodlawn Avenue, opens at 11 a.m. Thursday. The first 100 people in line will get a free Shake Shack hat.
Finally, after The Observer confirmed Monday that a second location of Shake Shack is being planned for Blakeney Village in South Charlotte, Andrew McCaughan, the vice president of development, said Tuesday that there isn't a plan to add a third location.
“We’re going to keep our eyes and ears open and look forward to having the conversation at the right time,” McCaughan said when asked whether a third location, possibly to the north of Charlotte, is being planned yet.
McCaughan shared more details on the second location: It will go in part of the space that's Bravo!, the Italian restaurant that will close April 29. Shake Shack won't take the whole space, but will be about 3,200 square feet with a patio on the Village Green. The company hopes to open by the end of 2018, but it might be early 2019, given the frequency of construction delays and permitting.