Seattle has been salivating over our forthcoming Shake Shack for months. The Emerald City may have the iconic Dick’s Burgers, mountains of local produce, and more oysters than you can shake a stick at, but something about the Danny Meyer-led chain’s cheeseburgers, crinkle fries, and ice cream concretes has created a rabid fan base for the soon-to-be restaurant.
The new Shake Shack will open in Seattle’s Westlake neighborhood, smack dab in the middle of the sprawling Amazon campus, and will come with a few locally-inspired menu items. Chief among them is the Montlake Double Cut, which Seattle Met revealed today would be a double cheeseburger made with local beef sourced from Crowd Cow, topped with Just Jack cheese from Seattle institution Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, caramelized onions, and a mustard-mayo sauce on a locally made Macrina bakery bun.
Shake Shack has a history of teaming up with local institutions to add regional-specific dishes to the menus of its new outposts. For example, for its Austin, Texas location, the company created a burger topped with jalapeno-cheese sausage from Texas barbecue spot Kreuz Market. However, this Seattle creation marks the first time the chain has ever made a change to its custom-blended beef patties.
Honestly, we can’t wait to try the Crowd Cow burgers. (I’m a vegetarian, and I’m still excited about the partnership.) Crowd Cow is an online service that lets consumers buy craft beef (and chicken, and pork, and fish) from local farmers, then delivers it directly to their door. The Seattle-based startup recently raised $8 million to expand their network of farmers and improve their supply chain.
This partnership was a savvy move on Shake Shake’s part. By partnering with a marketplace like Crowd Cow, they can feature locally raised beef from small farms without ever worrying about hiccups in their supply. If a certain farm can’t provide meat one week, Crowd Cow can always search its marketplace to source some more.
By developing a burger that’s not only regionally-inspired but also made of regionally-sourced beef, the New York-based chain can attract customers who might typically avoid chain restaurants. “Shake Shack was looking to do something very particular to Seattle,” Crowd Cow co-founder Ethan Lowrey told me over the phone.
Not only is their beef local, it’s also much higher quality than you’ll see in a store or restaurant — even the fancy ones. The cows in Crowd Cow’s marketplace are raised for steak, which means their meat is a superior grade. “Our secret weapon is our ground beef,” Lowrey said. “Even if you compare it with the nicest ground beef you buy in a store, it’s just night and day.”
By sourcing beef from Crowd Cow, Shake Shack can capitalize on recent demands for transparent meat sourcing. As my colleague Chris Albrecht wrote a few months ago:
According to The Power of Meat report, conventional meat sales were flat in 2017, while meat with special production (natural, organic, etc.) and claims about ethical animal treatment saw “dollar gains of 4.8 percent and volume growth of 5.1 percent.”
As far as we can tell, this partnership is the first time that Crowd Cow has sold their meat to a high-volume restaurant. Let’s hope the growing startup can keep up with the demand of Shake Shack-crazed Seattleites.
Beyond beef, Shake Shack will also add a few local creations to its menu of concretes (basically, extra-thick milkshakes): one with seasonal pie from A La Mode Pies, one with Theo’s dark chocolate, and another with brittle made from Sea Wolf croissants.
There’s no official word on the opening day for the Westlake Shack Shack, though it’s rumored to be sometime in the next few weeks. If you get to stop in and order the Montlake Double Cut, be sure to tweet us @TheSpoonTech and tell us how you liked it.