Behold...Denver's first Steak 'n Shake!

happydude.jpg
Lori Midson
This guy -- and hundreds of others -- waited hours for a burger at Denver's first Steak 'n Shake.
"I've been waiting five years for this!" screeched a woman who couldn't stop trembling. And Jeremy Smallwood was grinning from ear to ear, despite the fact that he had been sitting idle in his car for more than two hours, patiently waiting for the snake of cars ahead of him to inch their way toward the drive-thru. "I figured it was going to be like this," admitted an undeterred Smallwood, who knew exactly what he planned to order: two Frisco Melts. "I get them every single time. They're ridiculously good."

And that was the overall sentiment at the highly anticipated opening of Steak 'n Shake, the iconic, nationwide burger emporium that got its start in Normal, Illinois in 1934 and opened its first Denver store at 10 a.m. on Thursday in Centennial.

"A woman who told me that she'd been waiting thirty years -- thirty years! -- for a Steak 'n Shake in Denver started crying as soon as she got here," said Mark Clark, a partner in the Steak 'n Shake empire, who was standing outside at 2 p.m., surveying the controlled mayhem. "This is one of the busiest openings that Steak 'n Shake has ever had."

And that's just the beginning of the burger chain's expansion into the Denver market. "We're planning to open five Steak 'n Shakes around the city," revealed Clark, who's already signed a lease on a second space at Santa Fe and Hampden, in the River Point Parkway Shopping Center, anchored by Target and Costco. "We're breaking ground on that store on November 28, and we'll open in March or April." And by the end of 2013, three additional Steak 'n Shakes will have opened in Denver.

"The response has been amazing, and it's great watching the smiles on everyone's faces -- that's the best part," Clark told me. And, admittedly, the majority of people who swarmed the 96-seat joint seemed damn happy -- and I didn't hear one person mourn for an In-N-Out Burger, which is often compared to Steak 'n Shake. "We're definitely a fair comparison to In-N-Out, and we're both legendary, classic bands," said Clark, but the primary difference, he stressed, resides in the fact that unlike In-N-Out, Steak 'n Shake is a full-service restaurant with servers and hosts. "There aren't a lot of burger places like this around the country -- places that are full-service, have a drive-thru and cook their burgers to order -- and definitely not in Denver."

I hadn't been to a Steak 'n Shake in years -- not since I lived in Chicago in the nineties -- but I've been to In-N-Out more times than I care to admit, thanks to a long stint in California, and while Midwesterners are fiercely loyal to Steak 'n Shake, I'm going to have to disagree. I like Steak 'n Shake (especially the hand-dipped shakes), but the burger -- I had the original double 'n cheese -- left me wistful for a double-double, animal-style. "It's a culture thing that goes beyond the food," remarked Clark. And the women sitting next to me agreed. "If you're from the Midwest, you're a die-hard Steak 'n Shaker; if you're from the West Coast, you're an In-N-Outer."

In any case, I went, I conquered and I ate. Herewith, day one of Steak 'n Shake.

Location Info

Steak 'n Shake

8271 S. Quebec St., Centennial, CO

Category: Restaurant

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11 comments
foxybuckeye
foxybuckeye

I lived back in Ohio growing up.. didn't eat them never heard of them,  Been out here in Colorado since 1961, my husband was from Wyo.We went to visit my Daughter in Anderson, In, in 2001 and  her boys talked about them,, we tried them , I can make a better steak burger with our RANCHER RESERVE  ANGUS BEEF from Safeway. and yes it is thousand island sauce steak N shake put on their  hamburgers., I even make a better Chile. so save your self some money. lol.I live north of Denver  and why would I drive south of Denver to get a burger. Burger King makes great burgers out here in Brighton, Colorado. where we live ,so do some other restureants around Adams county, but i grew up on a farm in Ohio  we did our own beef them. out here I used to buy Sides of  Montford beef that came from out of Greely,  Colorado.and they had great beef,  but some people just don't know what Great Beef taste like, I never buy 70  or 75 percent hamburger anyways, I buy Ground  Angus Steak, , By the Way I am 75 years old and  I know Beef and how to Cook it, Just saying.


That guy
That guy

so the secret steak burger sauce is thousand island, The Steakburger chili-spaghetti supreme is called a chilli 5 way, the black guy in the kitchen crew pick is a prick, and the guy in the first pic is creepy as shit and came up to me and started talking about my watch when i was trying to eat. and the only real secret about there burgers is they burn the sides of the burgers  so it crunches.

Pctech57
Pctech57

Worst, most tasteless burger ever. Had no trace of meat taste at all.

Rob Base
Rob Base

"I've been waiting five years for this! screeched a woman who couldn't stop trembling."Ladies and gentleman, we have your front runner for Loser of the Year.

Rob Base
Rob Base

This shit is fucking disgusting. No wonder there are so many fat people in this country.

Pcomer01
Pcomer01

Please open in Colorado Springs or Woodland Park> We love you and have been missing you!

JDH
JDH

Agree with the first comment.  Who cares about burgers in the suburbs?  I hate Centennial, Castle Rock, etc.  Write about food in the city.

GFTW
GFTW

How come you put secret in quotes?? Huh???

Guest
Guest

Centennial is not even in Denver County, so where is Denver's first Steak and Shake?

Base Rob
Base Rob

you are a self-serious douche bag.

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