'We’re definitely looking to open a second outlet, and create a meat-free burger like the Impossible': Shake Shack’s culinary director

Sheila Chiang
Lifestyle contributor

Christmas Cookie Shakes. (PHOTO: Shake Shack)

SINGAPORE – It all started from a modern day roadside burger stand in New York City in 2004. Today, American burger chain Shake Shack operates more than 249 locations both domestically and internationally.

They opened their first Singapore outlet in Jewel Changi Airport to snaking long queues. The first person in line reportedly queued 6 hours from 4.30am. 

Fast forward seven months later, business is still good and when we walked into their first and only outlet at Jewel Changi Airport on a Thursday afternoon, the restaurant was full-house, though the hype has died down a little.

They are typically known for their cheeseburgers and Shake Classics the Shack Burger and Smoke Shack. 


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With the craze and popularity surrounding the meat-free Impossible Burger, what does Shake Shack think about it?

“We are actually friends with the (people at) Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger. We have tried their stuff over the years. For us, we have actually created our own vegetable burger in New York City, as it is something we are testing around. We have always had a vegetarian item on our menu since the very first Shake Shack in 2004 and it is our ‘Shroom Burger. So that is kind of a more fun vegetable experience because when you bite into it, it’s crispy on the outside and the cheese slowly oozes out,” said culinary director Mark Rosati.

The vegan ‘Shroom Burger is so well-received by non-meat and meat lovers that this item will be a mainstay on their menu, at least in Singapore. If you haven’t tried it, you should. The crisp-fried and juicy Portobello mushroom with melted cheese burst in your mouth as you bite into it. 

‘Shroom Burger (PHOTO: Sheila Chiang/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

‘Shroom Burger (PHOTO: Sheila Chiang/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

This is also the reason why they came out with the Shack Stack burger, which is essentially a combination of the cheeseburger and the ‘Shroom Burger because “customers wanted that mushroom on a Shack Burger as it was so good”.

“We have wanted to do something really exciting for people who don’t want to eat meat for a long, long time,” he added. Yay to non-meat lovers.

“The vegetarian landscape keeps changing and evolving every day. I think it is exciting that if you are a vegetarian, there are so many options today than five years ago.”

“We have a lot of admiration for these companies, what they do and their plant-based foods. It is interesting. We have been working on a vegetable burger in New York that is different as the ‘Shroom Burger is on one side of the vegetarian spectrum which is a little hardy and rich but we are also playing around with a lighter vegetarian burger so it is something we like to have fun and see what can happen,” Mark told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore, with the Rain Vortex in the background.

“Right now we are just playing around with it so we will see. We never rush and jump onto anything. If it is becoming a trend, we always just take our time and see what feels right for Shake Shack. Right now we feel great about the burger we are playing around with, maybe we would add it to our menu. But right now we are just as excited about our ‘Shroom Burger, it is still our number one,” continued Mark, who was in town to celebrate the launch of the new Christmas Cookie Shake on 1 Nov.

The holiday drink is made of sugar cookie frozen custard topped with whipped cream, crumbled shortbread and red and green sprinkles. This is the first time the shake will be offered in Singapore after becoming a holiday tradition in the US.

Christmas Cookie Shake. (PHOTO: Sheila Chiang/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

In addition to the Shack classics, customers can also enjoy the Singapore exclusives Pandan Shake, Shack Attack, It Takes Two to Mango and Jewela Melaka.

Lastly we asked Mark if they will be opening a second outlet in Singapore soon? 

“We are very happy and humbled by the turn-out every day and we knew that it was going to be an incredible, exciting opportunity coming to an amazing location (Jewel Changi Airport) like this. We want to be in Singapore for a long, long time. We are definitely looking to open another outlet in the near future.” 

Shake Shack's mock signage on Craig Road. (PHOTO: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore reader)
A peek at the construction works. (PHOTO: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore reader)

Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore learned that a second outlet may be opening on Craig Road, and have reached out to Shake Shack’s spokesperson for comment.

Additional reporting by Reta Lee.

The all-new Christmas Shake Cookie (S$7.80) is available from today onwards at Jewel Changi Airport Shack.