By Elena Kadvany
Shake Shack forges local partnerships for Palo Alto outpostUploaded: Sep 27, 2018
When East Coast burger chain Shake Shack opens at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto this fall, several menu items will be born from partnerships with local food businesses.
Chocolate chip cookies from Manresa Bread in Los Gatos and Los Altos, for example, will be blended into Shake Shack’s popular frozen custard. The cookies — made with house-milled whole wheat flour and Valrhona chocolate chunks — wowed Shake Shack Culinary Director Mark Rosati on a trip to the Palo Alto area.
Shake Shack is nearing opening at Stanford Shopping Center. Photo by Elena Kadvany.
When Shake Shack decides to open in a new region, he said he sets out to explore with the question in mind: "If I moved here tomorrow, what would my daily routine be like?" Where would he get his morning coffee and pastries? Where would he go for a great glass of wine?
"When we go into a new city we try to find food that we get exited about," Rosati said in an interview.
Shake Shack will also use Dandelion Chocolate from San Francisco in an all-chocolate "concrete" dessert made with chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough and chunks of chocolate, all topped off with chocolate sprinkles. There will also be a vanilla custard concrete made with pieces of seasonal pies from Pie Dreams Co. in Fremont.
Three Shake Shack frozen custard concretes to be served at the Palo Alto location. Photo courtesy Shake Shack.
The Palo Alto location — Shake Shack’s first-ever in Northern California — will also have a special, brand-new burger created from local products: the "Golden State Double," with a patty made from Moraga-based Richards Grassfed Beef in partnership with Cream Co. Meats in Oakland, white cheddar, smoked garlic aioli and bread and butter pickles from McVicker Pickles, all on a sweet potato bun from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.
The "Golden State Double" burger will only be available at the Palo Alto Shake Shack. Photo courtesy Shake Shack.
"It's something very different than most people have seen from Shake Shack," Rosati said.
There will also be local beer and wine from "exclusive" partners, including from Fort Point Beer Co. in San Francisco, Broc Cellars in Berkeley, Brea Wine Co. in Colorado (a natural wine company) and Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa.
Rosati described the Bay Area’s food and wine culture as "feverish and unique." The ultimate goal with the Palo Alto menu, he said, is to offer the Shake Shack classics while also honoring that local culture.
"This is a very exciting opening for us, the entire company," Rosati said. "(We're) making sure the menu embraces all the classic food ... while at the same time taking a couple different directions that are going to feel like the Shake Shack ethos and DNA but expanding idea of what Shake Shack can be."
Shake Shack is currently under construction at the El Camino Real shopping center, in the former Well's Fargo space next to PF Chang's. It's set to open this fall.
Shake Shack, often described as In-N-Out's East Coast competition, is known for incorporating fine-dining's high attention to ingredients and detail into a fast-food setting. The menu includes 100-percent all-natural Angus beef burgers, a fried chicken sandwich, hot dogs and crinkle-cut fries, among other items.
Founder Danny Meyer, who opened the first Shake Shack in New York City more than a decade ago, is a renowned restaurateur and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group in New York City.