DARIEN, Conn. — Although the Shack Shake in Darien has just opened, Kristen Geisler has already been there three times.
“I took my boys there at 11 a.m. on opening day. Parking was so full that we parked at the Darien Library and crossed the street in the rain,” said Geisler, who lives in Rowayton.
The Shake Shack, at 1340 Post Road, is the third location for the beloved upscale burger chain in Connecticut. (The others are in Westport and New Haven.) It sells burgers, hot dogs, chicken and fries as well as desserts such as frozen custard and floats, of course, shakes.
Geisler said she is happy there is a Shake Shack so close to her house.
“It's hard not to stop when you're in the neighborhood and driving by,” she said.
She calls Shack Shack “gourmet fast food."
"I love that they carry niche products like Stumptown coffee and include vendors like SoNo Baking company," she said, adding that everyone in her family is a Shack Shack fan.
“I took my dad visiting from Michigan to the Westport location before Darien opened -- and he still talks about loving Shake Shack. My boys are ages 4 and 8; it's a quick, easy fun option for a meal," she said.
Her favorite item on the menu is the Shackburger “with no cheese,” and her least favorite is the French fries. The other day, she tried the Chick'n Shack -- a chicken burger -- for the first time.
“It was great and seemed really popular, so I thought I'd order. But I'll stick to a burger for my next visit," she said.
Burgers include the SmokeShack, which is a cheeseburger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce.
There is also the 'Shroom Burger, which comes with crisp-fried portobello mushrooms filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce.
Shake flavors include salted caramel, black & white, strawberry, peanut butter and coffee fair. Seasonal flavors now being offered include mint cookies & cream, salted vanilla toffee and mud pie.
With the opening of the Darien Shake Shack, there are now 115 locations of Shake Shack around the world -- 72 of which are in the United States.
According to Darien Shake Shack’s Marketing and Communications Manager Adam Shapiro, Darien was chosen because it's a great neighborhood.
Darien is a place where employees may want to move or live; “where we think we can find team members, compelling sites and great communities; and of course, where we believe there will be a strong guest demand,” Shapiro said.
Shake Shack distinguishes itself from its competitors in that it “brings the ethos of a hospitality-driven, community-minded, fine-dining restaurant group to the all-accessible plane of quick-serve burgers and fries without gussying up the experience.”
Shapiro said Darien’s Shake Shack is unique in that it “spins up an exclusive frozen custard concrete -- the Darien Cookie Dough, which is vanilla frozen custard blended with salted caramel sauce, SoNo Baking Company ginger chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate toffee.”
The original Shake Shack opened at Madison Square Park in New York City in 2004.
“The company grew from a hot dog cart created by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation ‘I ♥ Taxi.’
“The cart was quite the success, with Shack fans lined up daily for three summers,” he said.
Shake Shack was officially born in July 2004 when USHG won the bid to open a permanent kiosk in the park, Shapiro said. “Its green architecture was designed to make it harmonious with the park and its surroundings."