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Steak & Shake - A Chicago Debut in the Offing?

Steak & Shake - A Chicago Debut in the Offing?
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  • Steak & Shake - A Chicago Debut in the Offing?

    Post #1 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:49 pm
    Post #1 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:49 pm Post #1 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:49 pm
    One of my great laments over the past 15 years I've lived in and near Chicago is the relative absence of Steak & Shake. Sure, there's the location out at Gurnee Mills, but how often do you get out there? S&S was and always has been my favorite burger joint (and growing up in Indianapolis, the epicenter of S&S with 19 outlets in the city limits alone, not counting the 'burbs, I guess it was inevitable). So I was surprised and pleased to see a big S&S advertisement posted at the prominent Logan Square intersection of Milwaukee and Fullerton. Anybody know what this means? I can only guess a Steak & Shake infiltration into the city, long overdue, is finally at hand. Thoughts?

    Visit the Steak & Shake Website
    JiLS
  • Post #2 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:55 pm
    Post #2 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:55 pm Post #2 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:55 pm
    There's a closer one to you at 2209 Oakton, Evanston.
  • Post #3 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:59 pm
    Post #3 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:59 pm Post #3 - January 3rd, 2006, 8:59 pm
    And another on Mannheim Road just north of the Allstate Arena.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - January 3rd, 2006, 9:02 pm
    Post #4 - January 3rd, 2006, 9:02 pm Post #4 - January 3rd, 2006, 9:02 pm
    Thanks for the suggestions; seems like S&S is narrowing in on the northwest side of the city. But the presence of a billboard in Logan Square really got my attention. I've submitted an email to the S&S website asking about this. I noted while at the website that they are currently making a HUGE push for new franchisees, so maybe somebody bought a franchise in Logan Square!
    JiLS
  • Post #5 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:34 pm
    Post #5 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:34 pm Post #5 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:34 pm
    I love Steak and Shake. I go to the one on Oakton. I haven't been there lately. There should be an emoticon for big, heavy sigh.
  • Post #6 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:44 pm
    Post #6 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:44 pm Post #6 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:44 pm
    S&S in the city would rock. I went to school in St. Louis (big time Steak and Shake country). One of my favorite extracurricular activities was going to S&S at 2 in the morning and trying to get them to make me breakfast. Good times. Good fries, too.
  • Post #7 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:53 pm
    Post #7 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:53 pm Post #7 - January 3rd, 2006, 10:53 pm
    When I was a kid (mid '70s), S&S was still all drive-in service. We only did it once (at my insistence), because my dad didn't want to have us spilling baked beans and vanilla shakes in his Cutlass, but definitely old skool style, there. Used to hit the one at 53rd and Keystone; Mrs. JiLS used to hang at the S&S at 86th and Westfield Blvd. (back in the day when oddly she lived in Indianapolis as a teenager, only for us to meet up 20-some years later). Yep, S&S is a key cultural touchpoint for this poster. And it's actually really good food, too.
    JiLS
  • Post #8 - January 4th, 2006, 12:03 am
    Post #8 - January 4th, 2006, 12:03 am Post #8 - January 4th, 2006, 12:03 am
    Also one at Randhurst, and I believe one out at Algonquin and Barrington Rd. (not closer, but just goes to show they're everywhere).

    I used to be more enamored with them, based on my father's tales of their wonderful chili from his college days, but I've backed off on my enthusiasm -- the food's only OK.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #9 - January 4th, 2006, 12:14 am
    Post #9 - January 4th, 2006, 12:14 am Post #9 - January 4th, 2006, 12:14 am
    I had a GREAT first experience at S&S in Holland MI. The whole package...good food, super friendly staff. Then we went to the one in Rosemont and I think surly would be a good word to describe the staff. Now point me to a Hardees and I'd be a happy camper!
    The clown is down!
  • Post #10 - January 4th, 2006, 12:43 am
    Post #10 - January 4th, 2006, 12:43 am Post #10 - January 4th, 2006, 12:43 am
    Hardee's??? LOL, you're joking,right?
  • Post #11 - January 4th, 2006, 9:04 am
    Post #11 - January 4th, 2006, 9:04 am Post #11 - January 4th, 2006, 9:04 am
    There is also one in Glenview on Willow across the street from Costco. I don't know the name of the shopping center. Its the one with Target.

    For some reason, we seem to go there mostly before funerals that we have attended in Northbrook. Read what you want into that statement.
    Paulette
  • Post #12 - January 4th, 2006, 9:05 am
    Post #12 - January 4th, 2006, 9:05 am Post #12 - January 4th, 2006, 9:05 am
    JoelF wrote:the food's only OK.
    I'm in agreement. And, at least at Randhurst, the place is Teen Slacker Central after midnight. (I rarely go there when there are other options open.)

    I do like the cherry Cokes. Steak 'n' Shake is one of the few places you can get old-fashioned ones spiked with cherry syrup.
  • Post #13 - January 4th, 2006, 10:08 am
    Post #13 - January 4th, 2006, 10:08 am Post #13 - January 4th, 2006, 10:08 am
    paulette wrote:There is also one in Glenview on Willow across the street from Costco. I don't know the name of the shopping center. Its the one with Target.


    I think it's called the Willow Creek Shopping Center. I work in one of the office complexes right behind it.
    When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!
  • Post #14 - January 4th, 2006, 10:48 am
    Post #14 - January 4th, 2006, 10:48 am Post #14 - January 4th, 2006, 10:48 am
    Hardees has great breakfast sammies and the frisco burger rocks! Great shakes too!! Only, they are no where to be found!

    S&S fries are so good because they are different then others!
    The clown is down!
  • Post #15 - January 4th, 2006, 11:12 am
    Post #15 - January 4th, 2006, 11:12 am Post #15 - January 4th, 2006, 11:12 am
    Just an aside... In the 70's there were about three S&S stores that opened in the Downers, Westmont, Lombard area... and all of them closed and/or became Burger Kings. I think the one in Downers, on Ogden reopened and is still in business.

    I still remember, 40 yrs ago, My Dad and Brother coming down to visit me at college, in Champaign... I think it was for the Engineering Dept Open House. We ended the day at Steak & Shake, with great burgers and cold malts.

    =gordon=
  • Post #16 - January 4th, 2006, 12:35 pm
    Post #16 - January 4th, 2006, 12:35 pm Post #16 - January 4th, 2006, 12:35 pm
    Steak 'n Shake is my favorite fast food/interstate food joint. Their fries are the best. Please keep us posted!
  • Post #17 - January 4th, 2006, 1:04 pm
    Post #17 - January 4th, 2006, 1:04 pm Post #17 - January 4th, 2006, 1:04 pm
    My butt would not be happy if there were a S&S within a mile of me ... :lol:
  • Post #18 - January 4th, 2006, 1:59 pm
    Post #18 - January 4th, 2006, 1:59 pm Post #18 - January 4th, 2006, 1:59 pm
    I'm surprised by the outpouring of love for S&S. Is it just nostalgia at work? Their burgers are an awful, industrial product; maybe not in manufacture, but they sure taste that way. The shake portion of the equation, however, is worthwhile. At least the ads are occasionally amusing.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #19 - January 4th, 2006, 2:03 pm
    Post #19 - January 4th, 2006, 2:03 pm Post #19 - January 4th, 2006, 2:03 pm
    No Steak 'n Shakes coming to Chicago -- Here's the official response I received by email today:

    Hello James,

    As far as I know, we have no plans to open an SnS in the city limits. But, there are locations that are closer to Chicago than Gurnee. We have 31 locations in the Chicago area, just none inside the city limits. For the nearest location, please log onto SteaknShake.com.

    If I can be of further help. please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Thanks, and have a Happy New Year!


    Gwen Dawson
    Administrative Assistant
    The Steak 'N Shake Company
    Chicago, IL/Division
    Phone: 847-806-6229 ext. 23
    Fax: 847-806-6248
    JiLS
  • Post #20 - January 4th, 2006, 2:08 pm
    Post #20 - January 4th, 2006, 2:08 pm Post #20 - January 4th, 2006, 2:08 pm
    S&S is fine, with some stuff better than others. I'm not a *huge* fan, and I actually don't like the skinny fries (a personal choice with no relation to the actual quality of the ingredients or cooking). However, given the fact that the cook at S&S appears to start the burger process with a blob of fresh ground chuck, ploping it onto the griddle, and smashing it down with a big spatula, "industrial" seems wrong. (PS, I haven't been in a while; has this changed?)

    I will not be able to defend Hardees or its California cousin in any way.
    Last edited by JeffB on January 4th, 2006, 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 2:14 pm
    Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 2:14 pm Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 2:14 pm
    Christopher Gordon wrote:I'm surprised by the outpouring of love for S&S. Is it just nostalgia at work? Their burgers are an awful, industrial product; maybe not in manufacture, but they sure taste that way. The shake portion of the equation, however, is worthwhile. At least the ads are occasionally amusing.


    Maybe some nostalgia, sure. But keep in mind it's a franchise, and as others have noted, the level of service varies from location to location, which could be impacting your experience. Like many chains I have experienced that have a long history in one area, the older locations have better food and service, because that's what the customers have come to expect and demand. I think the general trend for chains is for the quality to (1) decline over time and (2) be diluted by expansion, and one reason is that there is no particular motivation not to just appeal to the least-common-denominator taste when that approach still sells burgers. In the established markets, complaints from the customers probably serve to correct this trend.
    JiLS
  • Post #22 - January 4th, 2006, 2:22 pm
    Post #22 - January 4th, 2006, 2:22 pm Post #22 - January 4th, 2006, 2:22 pm
    I spotted a S+S billboard in Uptown at Buena/Broadway and thought the same thing... "where is there a S+S in the city?" I have a nostalgic desire for their Chili Mac.

    Sounds like a wasted outdoor advertising budget... why promote a QSR in innercity neighborhoods with no access to their establishment? Their media agency should be questioned/canned.
  • Post #23 - January 4th, 2006, 2:55 pm
    Post #23 - January 4th, 2006, 2:55 pm Post #23 - January 4th, 2006, 2:55 pm
    JeffB wrote:However, given the fact that the cook at S&S appears to start the burger process with a blob of fresh ground chuck, ploping it onto the griddle, and smashing it down with a big spatula, "industrial" seems wrong. (PS, I haven't been in a while; has this changed?)


    This is what I witnessed at a Steak & Shake in the Quad Cities, two months ago.

    And, you can put me on the list of people that enjoy Steak & Shake.

    E.M.
  • Post #24 - January 4th, 2006, 2:57 pm
    Post #24 - January 4th, 2006, 2:57 pm Post #24 - January 4th, 2006, 2:57 pm
    There's been one at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora for at least 7 years. And if your anywhere near Rt 59 and I88, there is one right there just south of the exit, next to a Red Roof Inn.

    They actually have a decent diner breakfast menu.
    Bill-Aurora
  • Post #25 - January 4th, 2006, 3:11 pm
    Post #25 - January 4th, 2006, 3:11 pm Post #25 - January 4th, 2006, 3:11 pm
    just drove by the S&S on touhy/manheim by Allstate during lunch.. seriously thought about it (haven't had it in almost 10 yrs) - even drove into the parking lot - but decided AGAINST it since it's Wednesday Burger nite @ Jury's...
  • Post #26 - January 4th, 2006, 3:14 pm
    Post #26 - January 4th, 2006, 3:14 pm Post #26 - January 4th, 2006, 3:14 pm
    I've only been forced to dine at S&S's around Gibson City/Springfield. Awful, bland, granular, cooked-to-death burgers. I'm not snarkily putting the kibosh on others' apprehensions of this pedigreed chain. However, their burgers are at the bottom of MY list. I thought this was the general experience and am currently finding out different. I remember actually being excited to eat at my first S&S several years ago only to be woefully disappointed. Subsequent meals have only reinforced my distaste. Maybe I just haven't been to the right one.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #27 - January 4th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    Post #27 - January 4th, 2006, 3:53 pm Post #27 - January 4th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    I believe the first Steak-n-Shake restaurant with countertop and indoor carryout service was in Lafayette IN. They came up with the name "Takhomasak" because it sounded Native American and a bit like Tecumseh. Obviously a different era.

    One of my best friends lives in Davis CA. For the past 15 years we have had an ongoing friendly argument about which is better, In-n-Out or Steak-n-Shake. We have each had many opportunities to sample the delicacies from each chain. I suppose we will always agree to disagree about which burger is better, but we do agree that the two are far more similar than they are different. I reluctantly agree that In-n-Out has better fries, he reluctantly agrees that Steak-n-Shake has better drinks/shakes.

    I would also say that Steak-n-Shake has developed a consistency problem as it has expanded -- most of the places in the Chicago area are simply not the same quality as the ones in Central and Northern Indiana. I read with interest upthread about their first foray into the Chicago area, I never knew that, and perhaps it explains why the burgers at the Downers Grove location are better than those I've tried at other Chicagoland Steak-n-Shake locations...

    Mark
  • Post #28 - January 4th, 2006, 7:48 pm
    Post #28 - January 4th, 2006, 7:48 pm Post #28 - January 4th, 2006, 7:48 pm
    A snowy afternoon in late December, 1955. This seven year-old is tired and hungry; we've been driving north all day from Memphis on our way to visit relatives in Chicago. Urbana is all lit up for Christmas and Perry Como is crooning "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays" on the radio. Dad flips on the turn signal and wheels the 1953 Chevy into a neat little drive-in called Steak 'N Shake...

    So began my lifelong love affair with S'NS. It may never have been great food but, to this day, it tastes exactly as it did fifty years ago. Only difference is, I now precede it with a Pepcid AC.

    Oh, and Perry was right-- there IS no place like home for the holidays.
  • Post #29 - January 4th, 2006, 8:59 pm
    Post #29 - January 4th, 2006, 8:59 pm Post #29 - January 4th, 2006, 8:59 pm
    I also used to frequent the S&S's at 53rd and Keystone and 86th in Castleton. On my visits to Indy now, though, I visit the one at 86th and Michigan (my best friend fortunately lives close to that one). I wouldn't say their burgers or fries (gloppy cheese sauce a must) are the best, but for purely sentimental reasons I have to go every time I'm in Indy.
    Theresa Carter, tlc@thelocaltourist.com
    The Local Tourist: Online Guide to Downtown Chicago
    Free weekly events newsletter
    http://www.thelocaltourist.com
  • Post #30 - January 4th, 2006, 9:03 pm
    Post #30 - January 4th, 2006, 9:03 pm Post #30 - January 4th, 2006, 9:03 pm
    thelocaltourist wrote:I also used to frequent the S&S's at 53rd and Keystone and 86th in Castleton. On my visits to Indy now, though, I visit the one at 86th and Michigan (my best friend fortunately lives close to that one). I wouldn't say their burgers or fries (gloppy cheese sauce a must) are the best, but for purely sentimental reasons I have to go every time I'm in Indy.


    86th in Castleton? I'm talking about the one at 86th and Westfield, in Nora. Not that it makes that much of a difference, and anyway, glad to hear from another Indianapolitan fan of the superior breed of S&S found in that town.
    JiLS

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