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Shake Shack aims to ‘raise the bar’ in downtown Burbank

Popular East Coast burger chain Shake Shack opened its newest location in Burbank Monday morning and drew a crowd to its doors just minutes after opening.

It is the eighth location in L.A. County for the New York-based restaurant and it is located in the heart of downtown Burbank at 200 N. San Fernando Blvd., which was previously a campus for the now-defunct Marinello Schools of Beauty.

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Ashley Hummel, general manager of the Burbank site, said she was excited to finally let people into the restaurant after having many people ask her when it would be ready.

“I am super excited to open [a Shake Shack] in my hometown, and it’s very special to me,” she said, adding that most of the hires for the Burbank location are from the local community. “Hopefully, we’re that next staple in Burbank.”

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Just a few minutes down San Fernando on the other side of the Burbank Town Center is one of Shake Shack’s direct competitors — West Coast chain In-N-Out Burger, which was founded in Baldwin Park and has its headquarters in Irvine.

Hummel, a Burbank native who recently moved back to Southern California after living in New York City, said her first job was working at an In-N-Out restaurant, and she is familiar with the chain.

She added that the other burger chain is a great company, and she thinks the two restaurants can coexist.

“We respect the hell out of them,” Hummel said. “We don’t have as many locations as they do, and we’re not trying to take over anything. We’re just trying to share a little piece of the pie.”

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About 100 people lined up outside the restaurant Monday morning to be the first people through its doors.

Glendale resident Sean Cooley did not hesitate to start taking photos of his order, which consisted of a cheeseburger, cheese-covered fries, chicken tenders and a shake.

He has been to multiple Shake Shacks around L.A. County and even across the country, including locations in Chicago and New York.

“I think it’s a peak fast-food burger, in terms of what I want in an upscale but not froofy hamburger,” he said. “It’s at a bit higher price point than In-N-Out, but I think there’s a much needed space for it.”

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy attended the Shake Shack grand opening and said she was excited to see how the burger chain performs in the downtown area.

“I think [this restaurant] indicates that the downtown area is stepping up; that there are more significant kinds of restaurants or retail shops that are coming in,” she said. “Downtown, in and of itself, through the [Tourism Business Improvement District] and all the merchants that participate, is really beginning to raise the bar on the kinds of facilities that we have.”

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