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Chapel Hill's first Shake Shack opens in Franklin Street's Eastgate Shopping Center

A meal at Shake Shack is pictured on Jan. 6, 2023. The new resturant is located in the Eastgate Crossing Shopping Center in Chapel Hill NC.

Shake Shack has come to Chapel Hill. The burger and milkshake joint, located at 1800 E. Franklin St., opened on Dec. 22.

Emily Robertson, one of the managers of the Chapel Hill Shake Shack, said the restaurant has had steady business since opening. 

She said the customer base has been a blend of students and the greater Chapel Hill community and that the location experiences large spikes during game times.

“Opening day was super exciting,” Robertson said. “We had about 150 to 200 people lined up to come in when we opened the doors.” 

She said the doors opened at 11:00 a.m., with their ribbon-cutting kicking off the opening at 10:30 a.m.

Even though it was raining, the energy of the opening was not dampened, Robertson said. She said employees and customers alike were excited to be there, and it was extremely busy and hectic all day. 

According to Robertson, Shake Shack donated one dollar for every burger sold on the opening day to PORCH, a Chapel Hill-Carrboro hunger relief organization that collects food and cash donations for local schools, families and pantries.

She also said the day before the grand opening, the restaurant hosted a food drive for the organization.

“People just brought so much and were so generous,” Robertson said. "I think they almost donated over a pallet of food to PORCH."

The restaurant saw many UNC students come in as they returned from winter break.

Allyson Erejer, a UNC sophomore, said she has previously been to the Shake Shack in Cary with her family and was excited when she found out about the Chapel Hill spot. The new location is in the Eastgate Shopping Center, near Trader Joe's.

“It's really cute and it's right near everything," Erejer said. "I think it's a good location.”  

UNC junior Ashley Pearson said Shake Shack is her go-to burger spot and that it is a good, flavorful alternative to the often repetitive dining hall food.

“I love Shake Shack, and I have to say it's currently my favorite burger place,” Pearson said. 

She said she appreciates that Shake Shack has some healthier options and that the menu items do not have too many calories. 

“I'm very much in love with their cheese fries,” she said. “And the fact that they have cherry peppers and their own sauce.”

Shake Shack began as a hot dog cart in New York City to raise funds for a public art project. According to its website, the chain now has nearly 300 locations in North America and more than 100 locations combined in Europe and Asia. Shake Shack has seven other locations in North Carolina, including one inside Raleigh's PNC Arena.

Robertson said the restaurant is still hiring, and students have started applying as they return from winter break. 

“We've had a decent applicant flow,” she said. “It's just a matter of getting the right people in and having people excited to be here.” 

Shake Shack is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Individuals looking to work can visit Shake Shack's website to apply for a position on the team.

“We're super excited to be here as part of the Chapel Hill community,” Robertson said.

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