We’ve been covering Shake Shack for some time now on EatingEverywhere.com, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that for me, it hit so close to home. On a brisk afternoon, I stood at the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall as Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz introduced Danny Meyer to a crowd of (mostly) reporters, and announced the November 2011 opening of Shake Shack Brooklyn.

Marty kicked off the press conference with a mix of his usual wit and enthusiasm for the Brooklyn food scene (which he, himself has been very instrumental in helping to move forward), as well as his utmost respect for Danny Meyer and his team, and privilege to be welcoming them into his borough referring to Shake Shack as “The gold standard for burgers, flat-top hot dogs, & frozen custard.”

According to Marty Markowitz, “Brooklyn has become one of the culinary capitals of the country.” The last decade has brought about an influx of Michelin rated chefs, clever eateries, and national chains, some of the time to the chagrin of local business owners. Tony’s Famous Pizza has held ground at 409 Fulton Street for the past 20 years, and is an established neighborhood institution. Many worry that the addition of larger, corporate backed stores & restaurants like Shake Shack are pushing out the mom & pop shops. But according to Joe Chan, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership they have “worked very aggressively to help (Tony) to find another location” in the neighborhood where he will be reopening “in a very short period of time.”

Regardless of opposition, Marty declared that “Brooklyn is sizzling over our new Shake Shack.” If the lines at the existing locations in Madison Square Park and Citi Field (to name just two) are any indication of the truth, then Marty was spot on! Personally, I liked the challenge of getting a burger – trekking into Manhattan or torturing myself through a Mets game (I am a lifelong fan, but the last few years have been rough), and will have to practice restraint with the new restaurant looming less than a subway stop away.

Danny Meyer has always been a fan of Brooklyn, coming to the borough in the 80’s when he’d first moved to New York to eat lunch at Popeye’s Chicken or to take cooking classes at Abraham & Strauss (now Macy’s.) Many who have worked in one of more of Danny’s restaurants in the past now own, operate, or cook in local restaurants, another reason he was so excited to set up shop downtown.

Other speakers included Shake Shack CEO David Swinghammer, Shake Shack COO Randy Garutti, Commissioner of the Dept of Small Business Services of NYC, Rob Walsh, and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President, Joe Chan. I even got a minute of face to face time with Danny and asked him if he planned on expanding his Shake Shack empire beyond the east coast. He replied that at this time they do not, that having restaurants located in “The Eastern Standard Timezone is working quite well for us.”

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Shake Shack is currently located across Manhattan including in its original Madison Square Park location, Citi Field in Queens, Westport, CT, Miami Beach, FL, and Saratoga Springs, New York. A Washington DC location is also in the works. Shake Shack will open in Fulton Mall in November 2011. For more information visit www.shakeshack.com and www.unionsquarehospitalitygroup.com.

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