By Dorothy Mai and Jhacquelle Swaby
Suffolk County welcomed its first Shake Shack in Lake Grove on March 7, the third Shake Shack on Long Island to fundraise for the Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Five percent of the proceeds one of the menu items every week proceeds will go directly to the institution.
Families and friends of the Lake Grove staff were invited to attend an invite only pre-opening event on Monday to get a taste of what the food chain will bring to the community. Invitations were also extended to the Stony Brook Athletics Department and the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band.
“We are super excited to be in Suffolk County, and particularly near Stony Brook, which we know has a huge presence out here in Lake Grove and Suffolk County in general.” Kevin Garry, Area Director of Shake Shack said. “We’ve had a ton of success at our existing Long Island stores in Westbury and New Hyde Park closer to the city and we’re really excited to be here in Suffolk County.”
Cohen Children’s Medical Center was represented in the store on Monday by Debora Riccardi to advocate on behalf of the center.
“The partnership is just that they [Shake Shack] are fundraising for the Children’s hospital and it comes through our foundation office. It is so nice to have the community involved in the medical center.” Dr. Debora Riccardi said. “When I was talking to a couple of the staff members from Shake Shack, they said that they wanted to give back to the partners in the community so that’s kind of where the partnership came in.”
Cohen Children’s Medical Center, located in New Hyde Park, is geared mainly towards the care of children and commits to providing state-of-the-art care in all major clinical areas. Specialists in the program cover a various range of specialities including cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and stem cell transplantation.
The Shake Shack manager in the New Hyde Park location suggested the children’s hospital partnership, in which the rest of the Long Island chains participated in as well.
“Today the hospital is here to give away all the free items to everybody,” Jeremy Graf, the general manager of Shake Shack said. “We ask that anybody was wow’d by the meal, to donate money, especially to our charitable partner, to help them raise funds for the children’s hospital.”
Shake Shack customers can contribute to the children’s hospital by purchasing the “Pie Oh My” concrete shake — a mixture of frozen custard and toppings.
“In events like this, we can set up and let them raise money here.” Graf said. “We’ll do it at the Melville opening as well and any other way we can partner with them we’ll do that as well.”
The team also reached out to customers with special dietary needs such as vegetarians and people suffering with celiac disease.
“I had a great experience here today. I have an allergy, I’m gluten free, I have celiac disease and they knew what it was, they could accommodate me” Marge Coughlin from Port Jefferson said. “They really made sure there was no cross contamination. They changed their gloves even while serving. I thought this was over the top awesome.”
The Long Island Shake Shacks are looking forward to expanding their presence in the community. “We’re looking forward to partnering with SBU and having a presence on campus at select sporting events,” Abigail Knoff, the public relations director for Long Island Shake Shacks, said.
The Lake Grove Shake Shack officially opened on Tuesday, March 7, expecting much success from the community. When asked about the possible future competition with the next door yet-to-open Chipotle chain, Graf expressed, “We all help each other out. When one’s busier, one can have the overflow and things like that. We really don’t take away from one another.”
A fourth Shake Shack store is set to open in Melville in the upcoming weeks.