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Marion P& Z approves Shake Shack plans

Landmark eatery getting a massive upgrade

Marion Planning and Zoning gave its final approval to the site plan for a new and enlarged Shake Shack building, and if all goes well they should be open around May.

Jeff Tacker, who runs the Shake Shack along with his mother, Loretta, and sister, Lisa Taylor, said while they are very attached to the original building, it is just too small to keep up with the volume of food they are serving today.

“We are really proud of our heritage and the 40 years that my mom and dad put in to make the restaurant what it is,” Tacker said. “But if we are going to continue for the next 40 years with my sister and me, we are going to have to have a new building.”

The new building will be 3,500 square feet — almost twice the size of the current one — and will feature an old fashioned 1950s soda and ice cream fountain.

“You will be able to step up and sit on a stool and order a root beer float,” Tacker said. “And my mom wanted it to have a black and white tile floor to make it resemble the ones in the fifties.”

It will also have a large, well lit outdoor seating area, space for groups and parties, more paved parking spaces including ones for busses and tour groups, and more importantly, an enlarged kitchen.

The current building seats 75 and there just isn’t enough room for them to keep up with the cooking.

The new one will seat around 160 customers.

“Its been a struggle working when your kitchen is too small to feed everybody,” Taylor added. “We are at capacity. We needed to expand. It was time.”

The Tacker family has been serving up milk shakes and their famous half-pound “Big John” burgers since they bought the former Tastee Freeze in 1977.

The Shake Shack is a favorite lunch and dinner hang out with locals and a frequent stop for travelers along the interstate.

Taylor said while it will be emotional to say good bye to the original building, the inside of the new one will still have all of the Elvis and John Wayne and 1950s decor that mom Loretta has had on the walls over the years.

“That’s the hard part — that we are going to have to demo the old one,” Taylor said. “So it will be a little sad because I have been here since I was six years old, and generations of people have come to this building. Mom said we are going to make the new building look as much like the old building as we can.

But she is excited to see what new things we come up with on the menu — just as long as we can keep the customers happy.”

By Mark Randall