Mark Rosati of Shake Shack shares his diary of the week running up to iconic New York burger stand’s launch in the UK
Mark Rosati of Shake Shack shares his diary of the week running up to iconic New York burger stand's launch in the UK
Monday 1st July
Starting to feel the excitement! Our first UK Shake Shack opens its doors to the public in just four days and after three intensive weeks of training, the Covent Garden team is running its first practice session today for their friends and family.
It’s been incredible (and a little surreal,) watching everything take shape, and I couldn’t be more thrilled and honoured to be working with such great local partners as St John Bakery, Paul A. Young and Sillfield Farm to create new menu items that taste like London but are still very much Shake Shack in essence, including our Shackmeister Sausage, a Cumberland pork sausage topped with cheese sauce and crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots.
I hadn’t tried a Cumberland sausage before I started researching them for London, and they are fantastic – they remind me of a Louisiana boudin-style sausage with pork and rice…might be the sleeper hit of the London menu!
Tuesday 2nd July
Yesterday’s practice went well and today’s has gone even better. Nearly there! A photographer came down to take some shots today and looking back through the shots on his camera I felt privileged to be in such an incredible and historic part of London.
I visited Covent Garden when I was younger with my parents and never imagined I would be doing this! But it feels great to be back, I love the dynamic energy in London and it is similar to New York in that sense – there is so much I want to see, I haven’t had time to get homesick. A real highlight today was lunch at St. John – still dreaming about the roasted Tamworth pork loin, with what had to be the finest crackling I’ve ever tasted!
Wednesday 3rd July
Things are really coming together now, and we held our first event today, which connected us with London’s burger blogging community. It was so much fun, and fascinating to meet everyone we’ve been following and tweeting online for the past few months – always good to put names to faces.
Some colleagues from the US arrived today and we went for a team dinner at Hawksmoor restaurant. I tried their bone marrow with caramelised onion and the brown crab on toast – Covent Garden is such a fantastic neighbourhood for dining!
Thursday 4th July
Today was our housewarming party, which gave us a chance to invite everyone who has helped us on our journey down to Shake Shack to try some of our burgers and frozen custard.
Meeting our producers has been another highlight for me – such as Jimmy Butler, who makes the bacon for our SmokeShack burgers, and Paul A Young who crafts the chocolate chunks for our desserts.
Frozen custard, a dense, rich and creamy kind of ice cream with some egg yolk, isn’t well known over here – so we are looking forward to sharing this classic American treat with Londoners.
Friday 5th July
Today was an inspiring day! The sun shone, and we gave out Shake Shack shades and made ‘coffee and doughnuts’ custard for those waiting in line before the doors opened at 10am.
The donuts come from our friends at St.John and the coffee custard was made with beans from Monmouth Coffee a few blocks away from us. It was great to have a chance to meet some of our biggest Shackfans.
As it got closer to lunchtime, the line grew and grew and it was so satisfying to see the team in action. The biggest surprise of the day was that frozen custard shakes and concretes – a dessert made from our frozen custard with treats mixed in – were some of our biggest sellers. They are just the thing for such a hot day. I’ve had such a blast so far and I’m glad I have another week here.