Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Shack Veritas! Shake Shack New Haven Opens Today

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Tuesday we brought you the exciting news that Shake Shack New Haven is due to open this week. Well, today's the day. 11:00am is the time and thanks to an invite from our food industry hero, Danny Meyer(!), my dad and brother (aka Lil' Bobo) were there for the preview party last night and we have an extra special guest post from my dad. Take it away Papa Brownie...

Please note, this is my dad's first time at the Shack (and first blog post--sorry for the blurry photos, dear readers, he's just learning!)

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 New Haven concretes menu!
New Haven's Shake Shack opened it doors on Chapel Street Wednesday night with an hugely successful party. Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and CEO Randy Garutti were on hand to welcome in New Haven and it appeared that much of New Haven was there to welcome them.

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An enthusiastic staff fed a boisterous crowd trays of juicy burgers, hot dogs and fries along with oceans of beer, wine, shakes and delicious concretes unique to Yale and New Haven. Shake Shack's well-known combination of good food and good service is a welcome addition to an already vibrant food scene near the Yale campus. 

Generations of power elite have enjoyed the Skull and Bones secret society but, thanks to Shake Shack, the rest of society can now enjoy a not so secret Skull and Cones. Papa Brownie and Lil Bobo agree that this is the best of the unique concretes and love the cheeky name. It combines chocolate and vanilla custards with a shattered sugar cone and mixes in a peanut butter sauce and chocolate truffle cookie dough. Little B would pronounce this to be delicious if Brownie would let him eat any. 

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 Elm City Coffee Break concrete
Elm City Coffee Break is a winner, too. Coffee cake marshmallow sauce, a shortbread cookie and carmelized pecans are mixed with vanilla custard in an effort to completely derail Papa Brownie's heretofore successful diet regimen. I can't comment on the beer and wine because I didn't have a driver to take me home but most of the crowd seemed to be enjoying the Brooklyn Brewery Shackmeister Ale. But aside from the good service, the key to the Shack's success will be its high quality burger and hot dogs. I grew up nearby the second-ever In-N-Out Burger and had his share of their justly famous double doubles but, truth be told, a single ShackBurger outshines a double double from In-N-Out Burger in both flavor and quality (and beside the nearest In-N-Out is in Utah. That upstart-but-huge chain from Arlington, Virginia isn't even worth naming now that New Haven has a Shake Shack.

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Papa Brownie's first Shack Burger!
Confidence is a word that strikes me as applicable. New Haveners have a loyalty to locally-made Hummel's hot dogs, but Shake Shack can be confident that its Vienna all-beef dogs will be able to hold their own and win new fans. Similarly, Ashley's is the long-established ice cream of New Haven and Yale, but Shake Shack's custard is really a different product and, it too, will find a spot New Haveners haven't known needed to be filled. The same applies to the burgers. New Haven's venerable Louis Lunch claims to have invented the hamburger but that original and unique type of burger is also a completely different thing that just shares name of "burger" with Shake Shack's.

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The Handsome Dog (little nod to Yale's bulldog mascot Handsome Dan)

My few bites of other things suggests that the entire menu is worth some return trips to Chapel Street. The vegetarian 'Shroom Burger was a tasty and worthy offering and the Crinkle cut fries were perfectly cooked, lightly salted and served hot. The Handsome Dog with cheese sauce and ale-marinated onions is on my radar for the next visit. 

Welcome to New Haven; there's plenty of room left for Shake Shack in what might seem like a crowded food scene in New Haven.
Shake Shack New Haven

986 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 747-8483

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