With their first Shake Shack already drawing crowds in Manhattan, Danny Meyer and Randy Garutti worried that a second might be pushing their luck.
The Columbus Avenue outlet opened four years ago to long lines of local residents, Columbia University students and visitors to the American Museum of Natural History.
“We had hoped that we would be a magnet for the community, and we think it’s now become a mirror of the community,” said Garutti, Shake Shack’s 38-year-old chief executive officer, in a phone interview.
Meyer, the CEO of Shake Shack’s parent company, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Garutti are being honored at this weekend’s 6th annual New Taste of the Upper West Side for boosting Columbus Avenue’s economy. Gail Simmons, a judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” is the event’s host.
Shake Shack donates 5 percent of sales from its “Natural History Crunch-stellation” vanilla-malt dessert to support the museum’s early-childhood education programs.
“It’s in the heart of the district and everyone loves the restaurant,” said Barbara Adler, executive director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District. “We feel very fortunate that Danny and Randy have participated in the event each year.”
Columbus Avenue BID, New Taste’s presenter, is a nonprofit that promotes commercial development on the street to attract residents and visitors to the neighborhood. Garutti is a board member.
Tonight’s tasting will feature small plates by chefs who operate area restaurants. They include pork tacos from AG Kitchen; a Creole ratatouille made by Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola; cake and pretzel truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar and mini-cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.
Tomorrow’s “Best of the West” roster will include spiced lamb leg from Boulud Sud and a peekytoe-crab salad from Bar Boulud; porchetta heroes from Landmarc; and a bacon-and-cheese burger from Shake Shack.
Garutti is taking the chain international: Yesterday he opened a restaurant in Istanbul and there’ll be one in London’s Covent Garden district this summer. The company also unveiled one last week at the Delta Airlines Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
(New Taste of the Upper West Side is tonight and tomorrow on Columbus Avenue between West 76th and 77th streets. Tickets begin at $185 for tonight’s Comfort Classics and $135 for tomorrow’s Best of the West. Information: http://www.newtasteuws.com).
(Muse highlights include Greg Evans and Craig Seligman on movies, Jeremy Gerard on theater.