Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 30, 2021

Super fans, skeptics try out Shake Shack

By NATHAN BICK | February 26, 2015

Shake Shack, a New York City-based restaurant chain known for its fast food burgers and shakes, opened in the Inner Harbor last Monday at 400 E. Pratt St.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti cut the ribbon at the restaurant’s opening.

In a recent interview with Baltimore Business Journal, Garutti said that he has long been interested in opening a Shake Shack in Baltimore.

“When we’ve looked at Baltimore for years, we never quite found the right spot,” Garutti told the Baltimore Business Journal. “What I love about [the Pratt Street location] is it gives us the best of all community connections in Baltimore.”

Hopkins was well represented at the opening festivities. Sophomore Kevin LeBlanc, first in line to enter the restaurant, was featured in a Baltimore Sun article about the opening ceremony.

LeBlanc arrived around 9 a.m. to claim his spot. He ordered a double SmokeShack, one of their signature menu items, and was very impressed with the quality. He said it lived up to its reputation.

“It was great,” LeBlanc said. “All my friends were telling me about it, but it wasn’t until I actually sunk my teeth into it that I was like, ‘Wow, this is a good burger.’ It looked like a modern place, and it was all packed. There was a whole line and everything.”

Shake Shack has recently been experiencing commercial success. In its initial public offering on Wall Street this past January, Shake Shack’s stock rose from an initial price of $21 to $47 and is currently around $45. The chain, which originated with a stand located in Madison Square Park in 2004, now has locations in multiple states and cities, as well as in international capitals, including London, Dubai and Moscow.

The chain also has a dedicated and loyal following. The existence of a local fan base, composed of former New York residents, contributed to the excitement over Shake Shack’s expansion into Baltimore.

However, Shake Shack will face competition from Five Guys, which has a ubiquitous presence in the area and also boasts a strong following. Shake Shack charges $4 to $5 for a single burger and up to $10 for a double patty burger, while Five Guys charges $5 to $7 for burgers.

Some Baltimore residents are optimistic about the impact Shake Shack will have on the city’s economy.

“[Shake Shack] adds more to the city and makes it more appealing... more companies come to Baltimore as a result,” sophomore Olivia Weese, a Baltimore native, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

However, others argue that the huge fanfare accompanying the restaurant’s opening might actually signify a lack of development in the area.

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