Shake Shack announced on Thursday that its fried chicken sandwich, now officially dubbed the "Chick’n Shack," is now available at all U.S. locations.
It is, as CEO Randy Garutti put it, "a new era for Shake Shack."
It's the first time the New York-based chain has offered a burger nationwide that's not beef or mushroom. The addition makes sense: chicken consumption has been growing in the U.S., with Americans eating an average of about 84.7 pounds of chicken each in 2014 versus just 54.2 pounds of beef, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And in fast food, the raging success of Chick-fil-A has inspired a flurry of ambitious fried chicken sandwiches.
The Chick’n Shack — which costs $6.29 — launched in a few Brooklyn, N.Y. locations in July to much fanfare.
A review in Esquire concluded, "The proprietary Shack bun is as soft as the pillow you'll need to take a nap after you eat the thing. The chicken, itself, is crispier than Chick-Fil-A's—by far—but is just as juicy and wedding dress white inside. The sandwich's niche is furthered carved by the extra vinegary pickles, an acidic flourish that cuts through all the heaviness." As for the sandwich's unique characteristic, "The ChickenShack succeeds because of that buttermilk mayo. It'll make you think of liquified biscuits 'n' gravy."
The sandwich quickly sold out before being brought back to the three outlets. Then, Shake Shack launched the sandwich in late 2015 in restaurants in Istanbul, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.
The last six months have been a sort of test period. Garutti told BuzzFeed News before the announcement there were operational challenges that needed to be worked out before the sandwich could be launched at a larger scale. "There's a lot of work to it. It's a fried item instead of a grilled item like the burger is so it's different, which is why we want to take our time."
Alas, a few locations will still be chicken-less — the JFK Airport Shacks and stadium outlets — and the restaurant in New York's Theater District will get it late.