Shake Shack Hits the ‘Burbs (but Skips Westchester for Frikkin Westport!
What is the deal with these trendy spinoffs? First it was Pinkberry (that girl-power, So-Cal treat) that skipped right over Westchester to open in Fairfield County. What has Fairfield got that Westchester hasn’t? We’ve got Martha and loads of rich people, too!
And, folks, it’s only getting worse now with Shake Shack opening there, too. I mean, one can live without frozen yogurt, but no Shake Shack burgers cuts to the very quick. From the USHG announcement, “Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) plans to bring Shake Shack to the idyllic coastal town of Westport, CT, in the second half of 2011. One of NYC’s most lauded eateries and beloved community and family gathering places, Shake Shack is a modern day ‘roadside’ burger stand known for its delicious all-natural burgers, hot dogs, seasonal frozen custard, beer, wine and more. The Westport Shake Shack will make its home at 1849 Post Road East (just off I-95, Exit 19). Centrally located in this charming culture-loving Connecticut community, this will be the first true roadside Shack.”
Oh, because Westchester’s not charming or culture-loving? Because we don’t have roads?
It goes on to say, ”’My colleagues and I are thrilled to announce plans for our first Shake Shack in Connecticut,’ said Shake Shack CEO David Swinghamer. ‘We’ve been attracted to Fairfield County for quite some time, and we look forward to becoming a part of the fabric of this beautiful and vibrant community.’” I don’t know about you but, to me, this feels like a reference to the cluster-boink of Blue Smoke Chop House, USHG’s ill-fated green restaurant planned for the old Greenwich HoJo’s. Back in June, 2008, we spoke for hours with David Swinghamer (FYI – a Rye resident), who announced USHG’s detailed plans to join up with Greenwich’s Delamar Hotel. The concept was a green hotel highlighted by a USHG’s first suburban venture. We were stoked.
Of course, construction stalled—and stalled and stalled and stalled—until hopes were dashed, and our calls to USHG were not returned. Recently, we heard this, referring to the event: “After much thoughtful consideration, in the fall of 2009, we elected to forgo plans for a Blue Smoke Chop House in Greenwich, CT. While we were incredibly excited about opening in such an outstanding community, the overall development was not progressing as envisioned, so we chose to devote our resources toward other opportunities. We will continue to seek out new locations that will allow us to grow our business in an inspired way.”
But you know what? I don’t care – I’m still addicted to those damn burgers. Here’s my favorite part of the Madison Square Park Shake Shack. You must stand slightly behind the shack, near where you pick up your order – stand about two feet away from its blasting exhaust fan, close enough so that the fan agitates your hair. Breathe deeply of the smell of America, and let the fine particles of Pat LaFrieda beef grease coat your entire body. It’s powerful, sensual and a little gross – just like America itself.
Dinner a Go-Go
These two nights pair dinner and dancing, so you can shake your groove thing (after you’ve padded it by pigging out).
New â€¨Rochelle Council on the Arts, Dining for the Arts
October 30, $110 per person
The New Rochelle Council on the Arts is offering a night of “Dining for the Arts.” Ticket holders will attend a Broadway-themed dinner at one of 17 private homes (wines paired by A.O.C. Fine Wines). After the meal, all 17 parties will converge for one giant hoedown that includes Champagne and dancing at Wykagyl Country Club. The big hoot here—and this is why I love New Rochelle—is that some of the dinner themes are, um, questionable. Look for a cannibalistic Rocky Horror Picture Show dinner (where Meatloaf is served) and a Sweeny Todd-themed meal, where mystery meat pies are on offer. Yum.
Barcelona Goes Disco
Barcelona, South Norwalk
October 30, Free
Party people over here! Look for classic disco spun by DJ Kunjan, with $5 Blood Red Sangria, $5 Tequila Sunrises, $3 bottles of Miller High Life. There will be free bocadillos at the bar and late-night eats will be available when the munchies strike. Come in costume and get a free Blood Red Sangria. Barcelona suggests David Bowie, Andy Warhol, John Travolta circa Saturday Night Fever, Truman Capote, Dirk Diggler or any character from Carlito’s Way. It all sounds hot, in a sweaty, double-knit polyester and qiana sort of way.
Soup and Sammy Time!
It’s official – it’s fall, and our socks and sweaters are still packed away. We’ve been swaddled with pashminas, freezing our paling carcasses. So we stopped into Juniper www.juniperhastings.com for a warming soup-and-sandwich lunch. Imagine deep bowls of velvet, hauntingly fragrant mushroom soup paired with a crisp fried eggplant slice sandwich with feta and tomato pesto. I don’t know about you guys, but, for me, this stuff hits the spot. Especially when you’re still wearing flip flops to show off your new, black Halloween pedicure.