Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Danny Meyer to Open a Shake Shack in the Central West End

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Danny Meyer to Open a Shake Shack in the Central West End

Article excerpt

Danny Meyer is finally coming home.

The St. Louis native, one of the country's most influential restaurateurs, announced on Friday that Shake Shack will open next year at 32 North Euclid Avenue in the Central West End.

"I'm excited," Meyer told the Post-Dispatch. "I'm blown away by the amount of enthusiasm."

Shake Shack, which Meyer terms "fine-casual" dining, features hamburgers made from antibiotic-free Angus beef as well as crinkle- cut fries, hot dogs and frozen custard. The first permanent location opened in 2004 in New York City's Madison Square Park. There are now locations in 11 states and Washington, D.C., and also in the United Kingdom, Japan, the Middle East, Russia and Turkey. The company went public last year.

Meyer has often cited his youth in St. Louis as an inspiration behind Shake Shack. The first location opened in the midst of an effort to beautify Madison Square Park and make it a place where people would want to gather.

"I started thinking about what kind of food and what kind of experiences I had growing up that made me want to go to a place morning, noon and night," Meyer said. "They were always centered around parking lots: Fitz's root-beer stand, Steak 'n Shake, Carl's Drive In, Crown Candy Kitchen and certainly Ted Drewes."

Since New York lacks that kind of driving culture, Meyer said he thought: "Why couldn't we turn a park into the same role a parking lot used to play, a gathering place for people? Which is the antithesis of what fast food became."

The Central West End Shake Shack will be part of a $31 million mixed-use development from the Koman Group at North Euclid Avenue and West Pine Boulevard.

"I think Euclid has always felt like to me (and) the Central West End is the part (of St. Louis) that most reminds me of New York," Meyer said. "This location, when it came up, was just such a slam dunk. …

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