Dallas is the obvious choice for a burger chain looking to expand its market share. As a city, we consume more burgers than the rest of the planet combined (probably not true), which is evidenced by the sheer number of burger joints spread out across this city. If you did a survey, you’d find there are more burger joints than Starbucks (also not true, maybe). Now, restaurateur Danny Meyer is ready for a piece of the meat-lovin’ action.
Shake Shack, the slightly upscale, chef-driven burger joint that started in New York City, will make its way to Dallas soon, opening the second Texas location of the chain in Plano later this year, the company announced. The first-ever Texas location opened its doors just over a month ago in Austin. Early reviews of the East Coast transplant seem to be mixed in the capital, but it's too soon to judge any restaurant, even a chain. Eater Dallas reported some speculation that the chain was looking toward Dallas as early as October of last year, but plans have been completed to open the chain’s first restaurant in the area's hottest restaurant hot spot — Plano, of all places.
If you happened to catch Plano tearing down one of its city water towers this week, you saw the future home of Shake Shack. The development Legacy West is an office park-shopping center that will house Toyota’s new Texas headquarters, a hotel and plenty of restaurants. According to The Dallas Morning News, restaurateur Alberto Lombardi has already rented three spaces in the new development for northerly locations of Taverna, Bistro 31 and Toulouse. True Food Kitchen, and an Italian concept from Arizona chef Sam Fox, will also open at Legacy West.
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As we’ve seen the migration of restaurants from Tim Byres, Kent Rathbun and Dee Lincoln into the suburbs, Shake Shack's decision to open its doors in Legacy West isn't surprising. Clearly, Plano has an appetite for better restaurants, and Shake Shack is just jumping on that bandwagon at the right time. Still, as much as we’re happy to see Plano’s culinary scene grow, who really cares about another damn burger restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth?
Shake Shack founder Meyer isn’t the first out-of-town burger restaurateur to set his sights on Dallas-Fort Worth. In-N-Out moved to Dallas to incredible success, with people waiting in line for hours to get their first taste of Animal-style. Since, Austin’s Hopdoddy has opened three locations in Dallas. Elevation Burger and Five Guys have also been successful transplants, which make it likely that Dallas is going to happily fork over their cash for Shake Shack’s modern aesthetic and chef-inspired fare.
One thing Shake Shack does have going for it is its comparatively low prices. When stacked up against Hopdoddy and other purveyors of “upscale burgers,” Shake Shack’s burgers are relatively cheap. A burger and fries will run you less than $10, just a few bucks more if you want some of the restaurant’s house-made custard or a fancy organic iced tea.
Whether or not the burgers at Shake Shack are any good is irrelevant. Over the past four years, Dallas has become saturated with burger options. If only hot-shot restaurateurs, like Danny Meyer but who serve food other than burgers, would occasionally look Dallas’ way, the city's menu — or Plano's anyway — would be much improved. Perhaps David Chang will open his next outpost of Momofuku right across the highway in Frisco. We can dream, anyway.