It appears that Shake Shack, East Coast burger chain well known for its smash burgers and crinkle-cut fries, has overcome neighborhood opposition and will soon open the first of two locations the company has planned for San Francisco. But rumors that the company is also looking to open a location in the Inner Sunset are false, according to a spokesperson for the chain.
Hoodline reports that the fast food spot’s Cow Hollow location, a former Real Foods grocery store at 3060 Fillmore Street, will open in December. The venue has been in the works since early 2018 and was reportedly still “awaiting permits” as of October. A spokesperson for the company tells Eater SF that “there was a report that Shake Shack had established an opening timeline, but that is not currently the case and has not been confirmed by a representative of the company.” Still, given that Hoodline says it spoke with the Cow Hollow Shake Shack’s general manager, it’s possible the company might indeed be aiming for that timeline.
One thing Shake Shack has confirmed is a planned opening in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, the mall located on Market Street at Fourth Street. While its opening date and exact location in the mall haven’t been confirmed, that spot isn’t subject to the city’s regulations restricting chain stores, which likely slowed the opening of the Cow Hollow Shack
Then there’s the Inner Sunset. Lemonade, a LA-based fast casual restaurant, made its own way through the city’s chain store hoops and opened in a 5,000-square-foot spot on Ninth Avenue a couple of years ago, but that closed last month. Hoodline notes that a “now hiring” sign for the Fillmore Shake Shack has been taped to Lemonade’s window, which caused some to assume that the fast food chain had set its sights on the 1266 9th Avenue address.
Those rumors are false, a spokesperson for Shake Shack told Eater SF, saying “There are no locations planned for the Sunset.” Instead, the company “will be focusing their efforts on Cow Hollow for the time being and for the San Francisco Center in 2020.”
The burger chain, founded by restaurant magnate Danny Meyer, began in 2004 as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park. In early 2018, the company announced an ambitious growth plan, with the goal of 450 locations across the U.S. By the end of the year, that goal was decreased, as CEO Randy Garutti said that permits and inspections were more time-consuming than expected. That makes its move into San Francisco — a city well known for permitting delays, as well as some of the highest retail rents in the country — especially bold. While Eater’s been told that Shake Shack locations in Marin County and Palo Alto are regularly packed, it remains to be seen if East Coast transplants and new crinkle-cut-fry converts will flock to San Francisco’s Shake Shacks in numbers sufficient to support even one or two locations, let alone three.