Should we believe the rumor that Shake Shack, that beloved New York burger institution, is planning on opening a location in Chicago? Selfishly, we want the rumor to be true, if only so that we can be close to one of the restaurant's gloriously griddled burgers. But we are trying not to get too excited about the prospect until something is officially announced.
Here's what we do know. Grub Street cites a "source familiar with Chicago's restaurant real estate business" that it will open "next year" on East Ohio in River North. (In fact, both Grub Street and Eater Chicago are predicting that it could be located in the former Harley Davidson store at 66 E. Ohio.) Obviously, since it is an uncredited source, it's hard to call this a done deal, especially since Shake Shack's parent company, the Union Square Hospitality Group, refuses to comment. But, lest we forget, Grub Street does have a proven track record at connecting real estate happenings with potential New York imports. (See: Eataly.)
Shake Shack has been rapidly expanding, with a new location recently confirmed to open in London, so it makes sense that Chicago could be next. Also, owner Danny Meyer has an admitted soft spot for our city, and has been using Vienna Beef hot dogs since opening in 2004. Of course, we'll have to wait until sometime "next year" before we'll know for sure.
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