Somewhere, someone might have cried happy tears into a milkshake over news that Shake Shack's first restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth will land in Uptown in 2016. Plano will get a Shack, too. Ask a New Yorker -- or someone under 35 who's traveled to the Big Apple -- and Shake Shack is a big deal. And it's cool if you don't "get" it yet; I'm here to help.
Shake Shack is cultish, up there with In-N-Out Burger.
This burger and milkshake joint is almost annoying, it's that popular. You really wish your friend who lived in New York for that one summer, yeah, we remember, man, you talk about it all the time, could just go eat a Whataburger or something and workshop his Texas pride.
This born 'n bred Dallasite is here to tell you: Shake Shack opening its first D-FW shop is important and interesting for Dallas, a city that has no shortage of cheeseburgers already. You don't have to be an obnoxious Yankee to agree.
Here's what you need to know about Shake Shack before its Dallas debut.
The food is simple and good. But is it great?
Shake Shack nails it with simplicity. The flagship restaurant in Madison Square Park serves a few varieties of burgers and hot dogs, with crinkle-cut fries as the only side. The drinks list is way longer than the food, an indication that their drinks are worth paying attention to. First-timers will want to order a shake or a concrete -- that's frozen custard ice cream blended with add-ins such as caramel sauce or chocolate toffee. (Note that the Dallas menu isn't available yet, so we'll know later which exact menu items will be sold locally.)
In my several experiences eating Shake Shack, it was good. The burgers were flavorful. The fries were boring. The milkshakes were delicious.
Is Shake Shack better than a cheeseburger at Off-Site Kitchen and a shake from Highland Park Old-Fashioned Soda Company? No, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go.
It's a billion-dollar business.
Let's talk dollars and cents. Shake Shack was valued at $1.68 billion, the Wall Street Journal says, when it went public in early 2015. If you like a good story, Shake Shack has a heartwarming one, too: It started as a hot dog cart -- a cart -- in New York City. Today, Shake Shack has more than 40 restaurants, including ones in Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, London and Dubai.
This isn't an overstatement: It's America's hottest burger joint.
It may not be easy to root for a billion-dollar burger place, but people all over the world are using their money and their mouths to spread the good word. The New York Times calls it the "anti-chain chain" because it's growing at incredible speed yet somehow maintains its street cred.
Can Shake Shack sustain its good reputation and grow at a crazy-fast rate? Are the burgers good enough, the concept unique enough? The Dallas store will be a small way to gauge that. But don't discount Shake Shack as another passing fad, gone in a few months. Shake Shack has some sticking power.
There will be long lines.
Even some New Yorkers, some who have been eating Shake Shack since its debut in 2004, still stand in line for the burgers. What is the deal with that? For starters, Shake Shack has gotten tons of press, which has helped out-of-towners visiting cities like New York and Las Vegas seek it out. And it's likeable. They're burgers and shakes! And you're in and out for under $15. One look at their Instagram account and your stomach will be grumbling.
What's more, Business Insider says people like waiting in lines. They like it! "Experts say that waiting in lines is a way for us to cultivate our own identity. This psychological phenomenon is known as 'self-signaling,' in which people make decisions to communicate the type of person they are to themselves."
When the Dallas store opens, much like In-N-Out Burger, you can expect loyal fans and newcomers to stand in those long lines to see what all the fuss is about. Many of those photos will land on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And the snowball effect continues.
They're into secrets. Exhibit A: ShackSauce.
Shake Shack is famous for its sauce that's reportedly made with mayo, ketchup, and yellow ballpark mustard (among other things). The Shack's culinary director told a writer for cooking website Epicurious.com that "there's so much going on in their sauce that people 'can't really recreate it' at home."
Now you want to try to make it at home, right? Wrong. You want to try it at the restaurant. Why fiddle around with a sauce at home when you could stand in line, take a few selfies and let Shake Shack's chefs do it for you? FOMO is real, y'all.
Shake Shack is the most popular kid in school, and (finally!) you're invited to his house. Feels good, right?