A new Steak ‘n Shake will open Thursday on Mill Avenue near the Tempe campus, bringing the Midwest favorite to Arizona.
The first 100 guests who attend the grand opening will receive a booklet that entitles them to one Steak ‘n Shake meal per week for a year.
Computer systems engineering freshman Cruz Baciewicz said he had been to a Steak ‘n Shake in Texas and plans to go to the new restaurant when it opens.
“I typically like to watch what I eat, but I think I’ll treat myself a few times when it opens,” he said.
Steak ‘n Shake was founded in 1934 in Normal, Ill. by Gus Belt. This diner-style chain is located primarily in the Midwest and southern states.
The word ‘steak’ stands for their steakburgers, which were originally made from a mixture that included T-bone, sirloin and round steaks and ‘shake’ stands for their hand-dipped milkshakes.
The Tempe Steak ‘n Shake will be featuring the “The Signature Steakburger,” a 6-ounce, 100 percent USDA-certified organic steakburger. The restaurant will also feature thin and crispy hand-cut fries made from russet potatoes.
It will also provide patio seating, which is a new concept compared to traditional Steak ‘n Shakes.
Thursday at 10 a.m.,Rich Scanlan, Vice President of Operations, will host the official ribbon cutting. Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell will also be in attendance, along with Chief of Staff Charles Cobbs.
District manager Dawn Arnold has been working for Steak ‘n Shake for 14 years.
She said the Steak ‘n Shake opening on Mill Avenue will be a more contemporary version of the traditional store, which has staff dressed in white oxford shirts with black bowties and aprons serving customers.
This contemporary version will consist of counter-only service where customers will order at the counter and servers will bring them their food. Staff will be dressed in red and black uniforms.
“I love this concept,” Arnold said. “I hope to brand this idea by continuing to open these nontraditional stores.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a Steak ‘n Shake fan herself, Arnold is very excited to open Arizona’s first Steak ‘n Shake.
“I love this area, and I think the state is beautiful,” she said. “There are people who have come up to me who are already familiar with Steak ‘n Shake who are excited for it to open.”
She also helped open New York City’s first Steak ‘n Shake in Manhattan next to the Ed Sullivan Theatre on Broadway and 53rd street.
“We were featured on the David Letterman show,” she said. “He is actually a big fan of Steak ‘n Shake.”
Arnold said the company is also planning on expanding its chain internationally.
“We are planning to open a Steak ‘n Shake in Dubai,” she said. “This will be the first Steak ‘n Shake opening abroad.”
Whether customers are from the Midwest or the Valley, Arnold said she thinks Steak ‘n Shake on Mill will be a big hit.
In preparation for the grand opening, Steak ‘n Shake invited friends and family of employees to a VIP event Tuesday night. Those who attended received a complimentary meal.
Steve Johnson had already been to Steak ‘n Shake several times before attending this event. Johnson, who is originally from Indiana, said he noticed some differences between the Steak ‘n Shake in Tempe and the one back home.
“The one I went to in Indiana was at least 30 years old,” he said. “This one is a lot more modern.”
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