Shake Shack, the famed East Coast burger chain, opened in the Westfield UTC mall on Friday to large lines of hungry customers.
Located next to Nordstrom at UTC, the newest Shake Shack location features the same specialties as its other SoCal counterparts: shakes in flavors like chocolate cookies and cream, raspberry cheesecake, and salted caramel pretzel, as well as the SoCal “exclusive” Roadside Double, which is a double swiss cheeseburger with Dijon mustard.
For the most part, the fast food chain has remained on the East Coast. In March 2016, it opened its first West Coast location in West Hollywood. A year later, California is now home to six Shake Shacks, all in Southern California. The UTC Shake Shack marks the first location to be opened in San Diego.
On opening day, a large number of UC San Diego students showed up to try the new location. Fourth year Kitty Chan was in line for dinner with four other friends. By 6:30 p.m., the group had been waiting for over half an hour and were only about halfway through the line.
“I’ve had Shake Shack before in both New York and Las Vegas,” said Chan. “It’s really good, and I’m excited to try out this new place.”
Shake Shack began humbly in 2001 as a hot dog cart in New York City’s Madison Square Park. The cart was created in an effort to fund Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation, “I <3 Taxi.” The stand was a huge success, and, three years later, the first permanent Shake Shack kiosk opened in the park. Since then, the company has expanded its menu to include burgers, frozen custard, milkshakes, and chicken sandwiches. Compared to other famous burger chains like Five Guys or In-N-Out, Shake Shack is pricier— an average meal including a burger, fries, and a drink can be well over $10.
“My friend’s girlfriend works at Shake Shack, so he actually got to go to the pre-opening,” said third year Justin Gamiao. “My friend kept posting on Snapchat, saying these were the best burgers he’s ever had…I hope this place lives up to the hype, because I’ve been smelling it for quite a while now,” Gamaio said, before resuming his place in a line that wrapped around several storefronts.
Shake Shack is open seven days a week. From Sunday to Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m and on Fridays and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Ella Chen is a staff writer at The Triton.