The wait is almost over for all Shake Shack fans for what is perhaps the most anticipated new restaurant opening this year among foreign imports. The Philippines’ first ever Shake Shack is finally opening on May 10 on the ground floor of Central Square, across Shangri-La at The Fort, in Bonifacio Global City.
Specialty Food Retailers, Inc. (SFRI), the exclusive Philippine franchise holder of Shake Shack and part of the SSI group, hosted a media sneak preview and tasting session last April 29, with no less than the Shake Shack New York team led by its Global Culinary Director Mark Rosati in attendance.
Before Rosati led the tasting, he gave us a brief overview of Shake Shack’s humble beginnings in 2001 as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park serving only two kinds of hotdogs, the Taxi dog and Chicago dog. His story made me reminisce about my New York City days from 2000 to 2007. Back then, I did not realize that the Madison Square Park Chicago dog that I used to eat way before the actual Shake Shack opened in 2004 was the item that started it all. Today, Shake Shack has expanded to more than 200 locations in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, including more than 70 international locations in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow, Seoul, Singapore, and now the Philippines.
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The Manila menu will feature Shake Shack’s standard items, including the classic ShackBurger which was responsible for putting Shake Shack on the foodie map. Other signature items include the ‘Shroom Burger, SmokeShack, Shack Stack, Shack-cago Dog, Crinkle-Cut Fries, the Concretes, and ShackMeister Ale beer.
The ShackBurger features an all-natural beef patty without antibiotics and hormones, topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce, and served on a non-GMO potato bun. It’s perfect for the burger purist and will go for only P250 (cheaper than in the U.S.) for a single patty burger. This might be the cheapest Shake Shack burger yet!
If you’re looking for something different, I highly recommend the ‘Shroom Burger. It includes crisp-fried Portobello mushroom filled with melted Muenster and cheddar cheese, and topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. It may be meatless, but trust me, you won’t miss the beef on this one, and it’s nothing like the cheaper mushroom burger from Tagaytay that we used to enjoy when we were kids.
If you’re in the mood to indulge, it is hard to beat the SmokeShack, with all its cheeseburger goodness, further enhanced with the addition of bacon, not just any bacon, but premium all-natural applewood-smoked bacon, and finished with chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce.
Like with Shake Shacks located outside the U.S., the BGC branch will offer exclusive menu items developed just for the Philippines. The Ube Shake is basically vanilla frozen custard or ice cream, blended with ube to milkshake consistency. The Calamansi Limeade is a refreshing, slushy iced drink, a perfect hot weather thirst quencher which uses calamansi instead of lemon for a local take on the classic Shack lemonade.
The made-for-Manila menu also includes three special Concretes, which is what the Shack calls its frozen custard ice cream, freshly made daily on the premises and blended with mix-ins. For Manila, the New York team fell in love with these three Concrete variants flavored by local products. The Calamansi Pie Oh My is a vanilla custard-based Concrete mixed with Calamansi Pie from Wildflour Bakery.
The Shack Attack is a Manila spin on a Shack classic that blends a chocolate Concrete or chocolate custard ice cream with Bucky’s original brownies, chunks of 55% cacao chocolate from local bean-to-bar Auro Chocolate, then topped with fudge sauce and choco sprinkles.
Last but not least, the Uuuube-by Baby is a vanilla custard ice cream concoction that tastes like ube macapuno guinataan halo-halo in ice cream form, studded with ube, coconut marshmallow, tapioca, ube cookies, toasted coconut, pinipig for textural crunch, and topped with leche flan. Of the three, I found the Calamansi Pie combination the most interesting, with the vanilla frozen custard cutting through the tartness of the calamansi pie beautifully, resulting in a well-balanced mix that isn’t overly sweet or tart.
In line with its mission to “Stand for something good,” Shake Shack will be donating 5% of the sales of the Calamansi Pie Concrete to Children’s Hour, an organization that supports projects on education, health and nutrition, and child welfare and development for Filipino children in need.
Just like its New York branch, Shake Shack will also be selling its signature dog biscuits here, called Poochini and Bag-o-bones. I’m just not sure if Central Square is dog-friendly though. If not, I guess these are meant more as take-out treats or pasalubong for our furry four-legged best friends.
To make things more exciting on opening day, the first 100 guests in line will have the chance to win some cool Shack prizes. There are also games and other fun activities planned to entertain those in line starting at 9 am, while waiting for the restaurant to open at 11 am.
Shake Shack, Central Square, 5th Avenue corner C1 Park, Bonifacio Global City. Follow @shakeshackph and @ssilifeph on Instagram and Facebook
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