“We didn’t think we’d open a second Shack, let alone expand to where we are today,” Mark Rosati, culinary director of Shake Shack tells me as he guides me through their new innovation kitchen. The latest outpost of the burger chain has opened in the West Village (255 Varick St) and it comes equipped with an R&D space for Rosati and his team to dream up future menu items, like this location’s exclusive offering: Chick'n Bites.
A cardboard box soon arrives revealing tender pieces of juicy white meat chicken encased in the same crisp crust as the popular Chick’n Shack sandwich. Honey mustard and barbecue sauce (a hybrid of sweet Kansas-style and Carolina mustard) are provided alongside the bite-sized morsels for dipping to heart’s content. They’re a highly addictive deep-fried snack to enjoy alongside a burger, or three.
This isn’t the only addition to the menu. A black sesame milkshake, created in collaboration with the chef of Tokyo restaurant Den, is being offered after a previous one-day stint at the Madison Square Park location. Inspired by his time opening Shake Shacks in Korea, Rosati is serving a matcha-cold brew latte that pairs the earthy tea with coffee and rich sweetened cream.
As this will be the test kitchen for future Shake Shack items, it won’t be uncommon to find new items on the menu that the team is testing out. Come for the nuggets, stay for the chance to try the chain's next big thing before it shakes up the market.
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