Young and Hungry

Shake Shack D.C. Will Stick With New York Meat Man’s Cold, Coarse Grind

Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group confirmed this week that New York meat master Pat La Frieda will be supplying the burger patties for both forthcoming D.C. locations of the company's popular Shake Shack chain.

According to a company spokesperson, the D.C. shacks, located in Dupont Circle and at Nationals Park, are each expected to open by June.

La Frieda has been grinding patties for Meyer's New York locations for years. But Young & Hungry wondered whether the company might instead turn to a more local purveyor for its D.C. operations, considering that the patties are said to be made fresh each morning and then shlepped across town for prompt delivery. So expect to see some truckers wearing La Frieda's signature "Eat My Meat" hats on I-95 this summer.

La Frieda is a big name in the meat world. His ground beef has become so highly regarded that the supplier is sometimes mentioned by name on restaurant menus as a selling point.

The exact custom blend of beef and brisket used at Meyer's multiple Shake Shack locations is a tightly guarded secret. But in my 2008 interview with La Frieda for the New York Observer, the ground beef guru dished a bit about his process for ensuring a great quality burger:

The meat is ground fresh around 3 a.m. every morning, with careful attention to temperature. “We grind at a very low 29 degrees,” Mr. La Frieda said. “It keeps the meat flowing through the blades at a great speed so that it doesn’t overgrind, so you have a coarseness to the meat, and also enables the restaurants to cook medium-rare burgers, whereas a lot of burger places you’ll go to and order medium-rare, and it’ll come out gray inside. The temperature has a lot to do with that.”

Photo courtesy of Shake Shack/USHG

  • Roger

    It's pretty inexscusable that all the food vendors in the right-field stands at Nats' stadium aren't open. They've had like 16 fucking months since the end of last season to open them. Why the hell would they string Five Guys out like that? Their shitty BBQ replacements aren't worth anyone's time.

  • Boinkens

    Roger, you're going to be eating your words as soon as you try your first Shake Shack burger. Anyone who has been to Shake Shack is THRILLED that they are coming to Nats Park and is happy to wait until Sunday. As for the other concepts including the bbq one, they remain to be seen but I'm sure Danny Meyer won't let us down.

  • Boinkens

    *By Sunday, I meant June. I clearly have Shake Shack on the brain.