From humble beginnings as a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park in 2001 to more than 60 locations in the US and abroad, Shake Shack has become a cult favorite. Not for actual cults, just for people who are crazy for juicy burgers, crinkle-cut fries, and thick frozen custards.

We got the chance to be among the first to taste-test two of Shake Shack's Austin-inspired, Austin-exclusive menu items and got a little face time with Shake Shack’s culinary director, Mark Rosati. Here's what you have to look forward to (along with the fact that Austin now has a Shake Shack!). 

Anastacia Uriegas/Thrillist

The Lockhart Link Burger

The lowdown: A cheeseburger (made with 100% all-natural, antibiotic-free Angus beef) topped with a griddled Kreuz Market jalapeño cheese sausage link, ShackSauce, and pickles on a soft potato roll.

The verdict: We have a winner! So, we already know the beef is high-quality and delicious, but adding the crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside sausage link takes it to previously unreached deliciousness levels. The cheese and sauce add a creaminess that causes this BBQ-lover’s dream to melt in your mouth and make you ponder immediately ordering another. 

Mark says: "When I first came to Austin, I was immersed for a few days. I hit everyplace I could. I got up to Lockhart to try Kreuz, I tried Black’s and all those classic places... guys here, like Franklin and La Barbecue. What I loved though, was the texture of that sausage [from Kreuz’s Market], I loved the idea that when it’s hung, it looks like a horseshoe and the way we slice it, it’s circular and fits perfectly on top of a patty. And it has cheese inside -- when we griddle it, the outside of it cauterizes and gets nice and crispy while the inside cheese stays molten hot so when you bite into it, you get that crunchy saltiness but the cheese oozes out a little.”

Anastacia Uriegas/Thrillist

Uchi-koncrete

The lowdown: Shake Shake’s creamy vanilla custard, blended with miso hazelnut blondie chunks (a cross between a brownie and cookie dough) and huckleberry jam made exclusively for Shake Shack by Uchi & Uchiko.

The verdict: So creamy -- the tanginess of the jam is so subtle and the texture of the chewy blondie is sublime. We may or may not have gone in for a few more of these of these after the initial tasting. 

Mark says: "I have, for a long time, admired [Uchi & Uchiko]. When I first visited their restaurants, I was completely blown away. I didn’t think they’d want to work with us, they’re so huge. But when I approached them they were so into it. We wanted to do something that was homespun and comforting but had that unexpected twist you get from Uchi or Uchiko."

You know what pairs perfectly with anything on Shake Shake’s menu? The exclusive Shackmeister beer brewed by Brooklyn Brewery. Okay, maybe it's a bit strange to pair with a concrete, but still, be glad it's there!

Also notable and in the spirit of Austin’s dedication to animals: as part of its mission to Stand For Something Good, the Austin Shack is partnering with Austin Pets Alive, which provides life-saving programs for Austin’s adoptable dogs and cats. 5% of sales from the Uchi-koncrete will be donated to Austin Pets Alive, and Shake Shack team members will volunteer at events run by the charitable organization.

Now go get in line!

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1. Shake Shack 1100 S Lamar Blvd, Suite 2100, Austin, TX 78704

From humble beginnings as a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park in 2001 to more than 60 locations in the US and abroad, Shake Shack has become a cult favorite. This South Lamar location (Austin's first) even has Austin-inspired menu items, like the Lockhart Link Burger with topped with a Kreuz jalapeno cheese sausage link.

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