The Big Apple’s famous burger is now at BGC
Manila welcomes Shake Shack’s New York classics and Filipino concoctions
Known for customers queuing hours to get an order of its burgers and sides, Shake Shack has finally made its way to Manila.
The buzz around the popular food joint began as soon as it was announced back in July 2018, with Filipinos eagerly waiting to get a taste of one of New York’s iconic meals. The public will finally sate that craving starting May 10.
From hotdog cart to global brand
Globally known for its burgers and fries, Shake Shack actually started out with a simple hotdog cart at Madison Square Park. An immediate hit among Americans, burgers, fries and milkshakes were soon added to the menu, followed by more innovations on its sandwiches, sides and drinks, until the brand became a full-fledged restaurant chain now known around the world.
According to Culinary Director Mark Rosati who was in Manila for Shake Shack’s media preview, founder Danny Meyer actually thought of his initial menu in just five minutes.
“I don’t know what I’d do in five minutes. I would not have created a company that has 220-plus locations around the world,” shared Rosati. “But that’s Danny, he’s really harnessing his love for his childhood and all the great summertime food that’s classic American roadside fair.”
Personally, Rosati recalled a time before joining the company that he lined up for two hours and to find a plain-looking burger staring back at him.
“I looked at the burger [and I] was like, ‘I’m so mad right now. I waited two hours for this? I could have made this!’ And then I took a bite and I really said, ‘This is the best hamburger I’ve ever had!’” It was when he finally worked at Shake Shack that he discovered their secret. “We only use the freshest ingredients for our menu,” he declared with pride.
But now that the brand is finally in Manila, fans and foodies are skeptical whether the food will taste the same at Shake Shack’s home away from home.
Rosati, however, assured The Manila Times during the media launch on Monday.
“If we bring our burgers here or any place for that matter, we’ll make sure that it’s as good as New York. We have a lot of expectations from our fans and if Shake Shack doesn’t feel right, people will be mad at us and we’d get mad at ourselves.”
Around two years in the planning stage, Shake Shack first had to find a congruous business partner in the Philippines and then waited for the perfect location to open up.
“We like to go slowly but surely. We wanted to make sure we can bring the right ingredients and have a lot of time to make the experience right,” Rosati said.
“[As for the location,] there is such crossroads in this city that we can be sure to bring a lot of people here and finally let them know that Shake Shack has landed. All kinds of people come through [BGC] and that’s what’s important to us,” he continued.
While there are already there are numerous American food and burger joints in the country, there is truly something special with the arrival of Shake Shack on this side of the world because it is really generous in ingredients and big on taste.
Take for example the ShackBurger, which uses a whole steak for the patty to provide the best flavor experience for steak lovers. It is best paired with their classic crinkle-cut fries along with a ShackMeister beer, Shack White wine, or the classic American milkshake.
Homage to Filipino flavor
In addition to their famous menu, Shake Shack also created a variety of desserts and drinks to pay tribute to Filipino ingredients.
“As we spent time exploring the unique and eclectic landscape that is Filipino cuisine, we were inspired by the flavors and artisans we met along the way and by the food that they’re passionate about,” said Rosati. “From halo halo, lechon, adobo and garlic rice to calamansi and ube in every imaginable form, Manila is serious about its love for great food and ingredients!”
The New York famous Shake Shack custards and concretes — which are like thick ice cream freshly made every day, whereas the concretes have additional mix-ins — also get a Filipino twist by mixing calamansi pie with vanilla custard for the Calamansi Pie Oh My; adding brownies and cacao chocolate toppings from local shops and bakeries for the Filipino version of Shack Attack; and a halo-halo-inspired concrete of vanilla custard mixed with ube, coconut marshmallow, ube cookie, toasted coconut, crispy pinipig, and topped with leche flan.
For those who cannot get enough of ube, a big serving of the vanilla custard is blended with the Filipino treat to create a milkshake as a perfect accompaniment of the burgers. The lemonade is also given a twist, by using calamansi instead.
“We could change the menu with local stuff but it doesn’t feel right. For one, we need to bring that experience from New York — the hospitality, food, music, and decor — but of course, we spend time to localize a menu item, somehow like a love letter to Manila,” ended Rosati.
Shake Shack opens on May 10t at the ground floor of Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City.