Shake Shack’s second Seattle location opened Sept. 7 as part of Kirkland Urban, the new mixed-use development downtown.
“We’re really excited to be a part of this community,” Shake Shack Kirkland’s general manager Rachid Alaoui said. “We’ve been really humbled by all the buzz we’ve gotten and really hope we can exceed Kirkland’s expectations.”
The first Seattle-area Shake Shack opened in South Lake Union at 2115 Westlake Ave. last year. The fast food business, which was founded in New York City by restaurateur Danny Meyer in 2004, started primarily as an East Coast operation.
In 2014, it began expanding. As of 2019, the South Lake Union and new Kirkland locations are the only Shake Shack locations in Washington.
The restaurant specializes in “roadside-style” burgers and crinkle-cut fries, as well as milkshakes and frozen custard. At the Kirkland location, there are a handful of unique items on the menu, including a red wine Cabernet, which comes from Columbia Valley, and the Shack Attack and Pie Oh My frozen custards.
Each of those desserts has a connection to the community. The Shack Attack integrates chocolate from Theo’s, and Pie Oh My uses ingredients from local business A la Mode Pies.
“One of the things that’s really important to Shake Shack is to try to incorporate local products,” Alaoui said.
Ordering Pie Oh My is beneficial to the Seattle area in other ways. Five percent of sales from the Pie Oh My concrete to YouthCare, a nonprofit targeting youth homelessness. Part of the Shake Shack’s Stand for Something Good mission, Alaoui said the collaboration began around the time the South Lake Union location opened.
“We felt that YouthCare was probably the best partner we could work with in the area,” Alaoui said. “They do great work. We really try to engage with them as much as possible.”
The Kirkland location features an outdoor patio and incorporates sustainable furniture. Tabletops are made from reclaimed bowling tabletops courtesy of CounterEvolution, a New York-based furniture company that specializes in recycled decor. Chairs and booths are made from sustainable materials and lumber, respectively.
When asked what differentiates Shake Shack from other burger-oriented fast food businesses, Alaoui cited the restaurant’s emphasis on the dining experience as being noteworthy.
“I think it’s the hospitality piece that’s most important,” he said. “Everyone can make a burger, but what’s important is how it’s served to you. We really try to engage with our guests to make sure they have a great experience from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave.”