Shaking up Ann Arbor's food scene: Shake Shack plans to open in Fall 2019

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 9:58pm

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Alexis Rankin/Daily

Shake Shack is set to shake up the fast food scene in Ann Arbor. The company will be opening an Ann Arbor location in fall 2019, according to an email statement from the burger chain. This will be Shake Shack’s third location in Michigan, joining one in downtown Detroit and another in Troy.

The New York-based burger and shake restaurant will be located at 3030 Washtenaw Ave. #107 in the Arbor Hills shopping center, replacing Brooks Brothers. The restaurant will occupy more than 3,000 square feet of Arbor Hills including outdoor seating, Shake Shack said. The city of Ann Arbor approved the permits for the space, which will include structural, plumbing, electric and mechanical alterations which is estimated to cost $575,000, according to city records.

In an email to The Daily, Shake Shack spokeswoman Meg Castranova said the menu will consist of “Shack classics” like the ShackBurger, crinkle-cut fries, shakes and frozen custard concretes. Castranova highlighted Shake Shack’s use of high quality natural ingredients, as well as the chain’s environmentally sustainable building practices.

“In keeping with Shake Shack’s commitment to green architecture and eco-friendly construction, the Ann Arbor Shack will be constructed with recycled and sustainable materials,” Castranova wrote. “Booths will be made from lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and table tops will be made from reclaimed bowling alley lanes.”

The company emphasized their impact on the local Ann Arbor community, through partnering with local charities and food purveyors.

“We’ll also have a local charity partner to whom we’ll donate 5% of sales from one of our (frozen custard) concretes. Our Shack team will also volunteer,” Castranova wrote. “Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand for Something Good, from its premium ingredients and caring hiring practices to its inspiring designs and deep community investment.”  

However, despite Shake Shack’s commitment to be environmentally friendly, Business sophomore Jackie Spryshak, a Graham Sustainability Scholar, said she was opposed to Shake Shack’s decision to expand into Ann Arbor.

“Businesses entering any community, especially large corporate businesses, need to seriously focus on the environmental and social impact they bring,” Spryshak said. “Shake Shack seems like they just want to make a statement about ‘sustainability’ to meet the bare minimum effort and they certainly aren’t going to serve the community in any way.”

She cited concerns about plastic and food waste production and contributions to unsustainable food systems and industrial agriculture, as well as energy consumption and overhead for the restaurant. Spryshak also said the city of Ann Arbor should play a part in the business’s sustainability practices.

“I think it’s partly the city’s responsibility to ensure that they at least have their building be LEED-certified and ideally have a commitment to low-impact utensils and plates,” Spryshak said. “They also need to comment on their energy source and where/how they will manage their food waste and grease.”

LSA freshman Rory Bobigan worked at her local Shake Shack in New York City and said she looks forward to the location opening in Ann Arbor.

“As someone who has worked at Shake Shack for two years, I am so excited for it to come to Ann Arbor,” Bobigan said. “They truly do have the best burgers, fries and milkshakes. I am so glad Shake Shack is finally sharing these delicious foods with the UMich community.”