St. Louis, it's official: We're finally getting a Shake Shack.
Founder Danny Meyer announced this morning that the first St. Louis location of of his wildly popular burger and shake joint will open at 32 N. Euclid Ave. in the Central West End in 2017.
"I guess I must've read something that said you can't go home again, and unfortunately, for too many years, I believed it," Meyer tells Feast. "And I said, who ever wrote that rule anyway? It's something we've wanted to do since Shake Shack really learned we could play out of town."
The restaurant has been rumored for some time: Meyer is a St. Louis native, and he drew inspiration from the city when he created the Shake Shack menu, including freshly spun frozen custard, concretes and griddled flat-top dogs.
"I grew up loving Steak 'n Shake, Ted Drewes, Fitz's, Crown Candy and Carl's – all of those places were hugely inspirational for me 12 years ago when I was thinking about Shake Shack," he says. "I don't know anybody who only eats one kind of hamburger, so I hope St. Louis will put this on their rotation when they go to all those other great places."
Meyer says the Central West End location was perfect for a few reasons: it's a neighborhood with a substantial amount of pedestrian traffic, and Meyer says in a weird way it's the place in St. Louis that reminds him of New York the most.
"From a nostalgic standpoint, my father grew up and my grandparents lived literally a block and a half away from this place, and I spent a huge amount of my childhood right exactly in that neighborhood," he says. "It just felt right. Sometimes it's more of an emotional decision, I think."
The St. Louis Shack's menu will feature all the Shake Shack classics, in addition to a few frozen custard concretes featuring local purveyors. Many Shake Shack locations have city-specific menu items; Meyer says that will definitely be the case in St. Louis.
"We've got lots of time to figure out what it'll be, but there's so much good food in St. Louis, and we've got lots of friends who are in the restaurant business," he says. "So we're going to be asking a lot of questions of our friends so we can do a good job customizing the menu for St. Louis and celebrating St. Louis while we do it."
Since the original location opened in 2004 in Madison Square Park, Shake Shack has opened multiple locations across the country, as well as international locations including in London, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo and Moscow.
"I'm giddy with excitement," Meyer says about returning to his hometown. "I just have the biggest smile on my face."
Shake Shack, 32 N. Euclid Ave., Central West End, shakeshack.com
Editor's note: This post was updated with additional comments from Danny Meyer