Burger fans rejoice! New York’s beloved restaurant Shake Shack has finally arrived in Japan.
The long-awaited opening of Tokyo’s first Shack, located along the splendid gingko trees on Icho Namiki Avenue in one of Tokyo’s most posh areas, Aoyama, took place on Friday morning with hundreds of customers lining up for hours before the opening, including one fan who had been there since Thursday night.
A commemorative ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti, Vice President Michael Kark and officials from Sazaby League - Shake Shack’s official partner in Japan, which also brought Starbucks, Flying Tiger and other foreign brands into the country - took place at just before 11 a.m. as enthusiastic cheers from the crowd and staff escalated to the background music of Shack’s brass band.
Some 400 people had lined in front of the store from early morning and more and more kept flooding in toward noon. “I was afraid that no one would show up today,” Garruti told reporters, expressing his excitement at the more-than-expected turnout. “We are very excited to be here and very grateful to everyone who showed up today.”
The opening had a major sense of pure celebration and unity of joy for staff and customers alike as Garutti, Kark and Tokyo Shack’s main chef made sure that nobody got bored as they waited. The trio greeted and entertained people one by one, taking photos together, chatting and expressing their gratitude for the customers’ presence. “I lined up here since 9 p.m. last night,” Shack’s first customer, a young Japanese man, said as he rejoiced at the opening of what he described as his “favorite burger store.”
Shake Shack, the modern day “roadside” burger standing firmly for its 100% all-natural, antibiotic-free Angus beef burgers, is famous for also offering a fun and lively community gathering place, which Garrutti himself describes as “a place where people come together - not just fast food."
Tokyo’s Shack, inspired by the first-ever Shake Shack in New York City’s Madison Square Park, occupies 412 square meters and has 67 seats inside the store and 100 on the spacious terrace, which offer a good view of the autumn gingko leaves.
The store features Shake Shack’s signature items including everyone’s favorite ShackBurger - cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce, finished with a buttered, toasted, soft potato roll (680 yen) as well as the bacon burger SmokeShack (880 yen) and the griddled-crisp flat-top hot dog Shack-cago Dog (580 yen), in addition to Shack Red or White wine, straight from Napa’s wineries.
Unique Japanese treats will also be served, including the “Black Sesame,” a black sesame shake (480 yen) and “Walk in the Park”, a vanilla custard ice cream with matcha, "kinako" (roasted soy bean flour) and yuzu-miso-caramel toppings of your choice (480 yen each).
Garutti told reporters that he looks forward to the opening of more stores in Japan in the future, although there are no concrete plans yet. "As of now, I just want to focus on this store and enjoy the opening," he said.
For more information on menu and opening hours, visit Shake Shack’s official website here.© Japan Today