Opening day sizzle: Diners pack region’s first Shake Shack, located in Liberty Twp.

LIBERTY TWP. — A hungry crowd kept southwest Ohio’s first Shake Shack hopping on its first day of opening its doors and a steady line of cars weaved through the new restaurant’s twin drive-thru lanes.

Traffic around the restaurant Thursday periodically backed up car flow on one of the main road entrances to the adjacent Liberty Center, even with the help of a Butler County Sheriff’s deputy directing vehicles.

The grand opening of the nationally famous, upscale burger restaurant started with cheers at a ribbon cutting ceremony by the New York City-based chain, Liberty Twp. and local chamber of commerce officials.

Then came the hungry fans.

For the already loyal aficionados of the gourmet burger chain, which now has 319 outlets in 33 states after started in New York City in 2004, it was a local, tasty reunion for high-end fare they previously had to drive to Columbus or Cleveland Shake Shakes to enjoy.

Monroe resident Lora Barnes first chowed down on the restaurant’s menu during a visit years ago to New York City and was happy to now have the diner, which features Angus beef burgers, crispy chicken, hand-spun milkshakes, house-made lemonades, beer, wine, and more, a short drive from her home.

“I’m definitely getting a burger and fries but I’m not leaving without a shake,” said Barnes before queuing up at the end of the out-the-door line of customers.

“The black and white shake is so good it totally transformed our family,” she said smiling.

“If you are a burger connoisseur, if you’re like a foodie, then it’s not your regular burger. It’s like top of the line for sure.”

Jessica Werkneister of Liberty Twp. said she last had Shake Shack in Florida and was happy to see she now has a new dining option in her Butler County community.

She and family members were among the dozens of cars in the drive-thru lanes and said “the quality of the food” is what brought them out to the opening.

“We love the food … and its an incredible (restaurant) staff.”

Fellow foodie and local resident Tara Young had just dined in for her first-time trying the menu and said: “It was really good.”

“I got their smoked burger (smoke shack) … the cherry peppers were quite spicy and I like spicy food so it was perfect.”

The first-day crowd didn’t surprise Young.

“You know their reputation if you’ve ever talked to people about it, so we knew it was going to be a busy day.”

About the Author