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Shake Shack faces an uphill battle to supplant Dick’s in Seattle


Shake Shack is landing in Seattle on Saturday, Oct. 6, but the East Coast burger chain may find it difficult to make inroads with Dick’s Drive-In firmly entrenched as the local favorite.

RELATED: Dick’s Drive-In announces newest location

The history of Dick’s in the Northwest dates all the way back to 1954, when the first location opened up in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. The burger chain quickly expanded from there. Today it boasts six locations in the greater Seattle area.

Its local roots became that much clearer in a recent Seattle Times poll, when Dick’s was crowned the city’s top burger spot out of 32 total challengers, beating out the likes of Red Mill, 8oz Burger Bar, Li’l Woody’s, and others. Back in 2012, it also took the top spot by a wide margin in Esquire’s “Most Life-Changing Burger Joint” poll, netting over 3,000 votes, compared to just a few hundred for Shake Shack, who took seventh overall.

What does that all mean for Shake Shack’s foray into the Seattle burger battlefield? A fixture in New York City, the chain was founded just 14 years ago, and now boasts hundreds of locations across the country, including California, Illinois, and Florida among many others.

Washington state has remained one of the few uncharted territories for Shake Shack. The new location will open up in South Lake Union, and according to a Seattle Times report, will include a local artist installation and a patio area.

Steps are clearly being taken by the franchise to appeal to locals. To that end, they’ll feature Seattle’s own Beecher’s Cheese on their Montlake Double Cut Burger, Theo chocolate in their shakes, and a five percent donation of Pie Oh My sales to YouthCare, a Seattle nonprofit that specializes in ending homelessness among youths.

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Even with all that, it could prove tough to compete with Dick’s half-century history in Seattle, no matter how much Beecher’s cheese Shake Shack puts on its burgers.

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