Is Shake Shack a good thing for Cleveland? While We’re Waiting


As a throwback to my old columns, I’ve giving Boot Up and Boot Down comments to several things that are on my mind in the sports world today.

Boot Up: Indians spending is a Boone! I never thought the Cleveland Indians would consider spending $60 million to go out and get Edwin Encarnacion. Never did that ever cross my mind as something that might plausibly occur, until it actually did. And now, even after that massive signing, the Indians went out and made another substantial move on the free agent market.

Last week’s $5.5 million signing of lefty reliever Boone Logan is a big deal. It’s a big deal because the MLB regular season is a long, long grind. It’s a big deal because, as we experienced during the 2016 playoffs, having a deep bullpen with matchup flexibility is invaluable. It’s a big deal because this was a huge, glaring need for the defending pennant champions that was met with a non-barebones contract.

Logan is an excellent LOOGY. The Indians were deeply missing a left-hander with his one-out specialist abilities. Kyle Crockett, the baby-faced youngster, never quite blossomed into that role in 2016. He still could turn into a decent reliever. But the time to act was now and the Indians front office delivered in a big way. With Andrew Miller’s overall awesomeness, the steady hand of Cody Allen, and the combined efforts of Logan, Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero, Zach McAllister, and whomever else might step up, this bullpen is absolutely loaded.

Boot Down: Where’s the lame duck Cavs season? Once the Cleveland Cavaliers broke Northeast Ohio’s championship drought, I had a hope the 2016-17 NBA regular season would be a bore. As fans, we all knew the Eastern Conference – even with Boston’s addition of Al Horford – would likely be no match for LeBron James yet again. Even if the Cavs just played on cruise control until the All-Star Break, they’d likely have no trouble and no drama whatsoever for a long, long while … right?

Well, it seems that maybe LeBron James’ teams might just be allergic to calm and tranquility. The Cavs are 36-15 following Wednesday’s win in Indiana, on pace for a 58-win season. That would be right on par with last year’s 57-win mark. They hold a three-game lead in the Eastern Conference over Boston, with Washington (!) and Toronto sitting tied for third at 5.5 games behind. But if you simply followed the Cavs season on Twitter and in the news, you’d probably think all was just #doom-worthy and they’d be fighting for their lives.

J.R. Smith remains out. The Cavs could use a legitimate upgrade over Kay Felder at backup point guard. LeBron should absolutely not be second in the league in minutes per game. The big man rotation remains fairly weak. There are trade rumors galore circulating around Twitter. These are issues – albeit easy issues I’ll take any day of the week over what took place from 2010 to 2014 – but they continue to get over-analyzed and over-exaggerated. Wasn’t this season supposed to be easy? Aren’t we all just waiting for a June rematch with Golden State? It feels so pained right now, so difficult. It’s a bit of a bummer on all fronts that it’s not so relaxing as I had hoped.

Boot Up: Archie Miller to Ohio State? I’m a University of Dayton alumnus, so by nature I’m a huge Archie Miller fan. In my role as the school’s newspaper sports editor, I was at his introductory press conference at Dayton back in spring 2011. In his short time since with the Flyers, Archie Miller has rejuvenated a very proud program and brought UD back into the national spotlight. But that run likely won’t last forever, just as his older brother Sean once jumped from Xavier to Arizona.

The University of Dayton, as a well-funded private institution, has the resources to keep the 38-year-old Miller in the short-term. He signed a contract extension last March through 2023 and is reportedly the highest-earning coach in the now-underwhelming Atlantic 10 Conference. Miller’s annual compensation is somewhere close to $2 million. Dayton’s resources, however, pale in comparison to what an Ohio State-esque school might offer soon.

And would you look at that? Thad Matta’s Buckeyes are struggling for yet another year in a row. His recruiting hasn’t been splashy enough on the national stage since the woebegone days of Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Evan Turner. Matta, who turns 50 in July, could be on the very serious hot seat this spring. And as much as it’d anger my inner Flyer, my Buckeye-loving self would be ecstatic about the idea of a possible fit. It’s all just speculation for now, but OSU would certainly be a school with the big bucks to flash over Archie’s way.

Boot Down: Shake Shack in Cleveland. Don’t get me wrong, Shake Shack is good. I enjoy it dearly. It’s a staple of my new life in New York City. I’ve legitimately had Shake Shack every time I’ve made it to Barclays Center. I’ve been to the original one, I’ve had Shake Shack at the airport, I’ve had it a lot. But the proposed Shake Shack in Cleveland … just sorta feels wrong, no?

I’ll be fascinated to see the pricing strategy for Northeast Ohio consumers. As an Akronite, I’m spoiled by Swenson’s and Skyway. There, you can likely get a milkshake, fries, a double hamburger and the thrill of the old-school drive-in experience for the price of just the double hamburger at Shake Shack. And will this long-discussed nuCLEus thing even work?1

It just feels sorta wrong, man. Give me six more Swenson’s locations surrounding Cleveland before we deal with Shake Shack in that territory. Stick with what works.

Some recent news tidbits that you may have missed:

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  1. Ed. Note: Will Burge doesn’t think so. []

  • BenRM

    I have never heard of Shake Shack, but I like their business plan: Shakes in shacks.

    As a proponent of shacks, I think there is no place better for shakes.

  • BenRM

    Also, as a fellow former-Akronite, Skyway never gets the love I feel it should. I ate there weekly as a kid.

  • mgbode

    Shake Shack’s are nationwide. Have one here in Austin. No reason they wouldn’t continue to expand. Also, while they will undoubtedly be pricier than the strict fast food options you mention, the prices in New York City are not indicative of the prices that will be utilized in Ohio.

  • BenRM

    Again – not familiar with Shake Shack, but it sounds like it will directly compete with something like B-Spot, no?

  • maxfnmloans

    I think its more of a Five Guys competitor, not quite as “sit down” as B Spot (no waitstaff). Think upscale fast food, if Im properly informed

  • maxfnmloans

    is Shake Shack or = Five Guys?

  • mgbode


  • mgbode

    I prefer having peanuts but that’s me.

  • maxfnmloans

    gotcha. Most likely, like 5 Guys, I’ll eat there once. 5 Guys was good and all, but I felt like a beached whale for the rest of the day after eating there. Just wasnt good enough to go through that again, imho

    One place I really like is Flip Side. Theres one in Chagrin Falls. They have a few locations in Ohio. Its all grass fed beef, and they try and source as much as they can from local Ohio vendors (Middlefield Cheese, yo!). Their burgers really are phenomenal. I never bought into the whole granola-y “grass fed, organic” jive, but after one bite there, I was a convert.

  • mgbode

    Mighty Fine is my establishment of choice. Similar in style but it is so much better than the others. Not greasy or anything yet it is absolutely fantastic.

  • maxfnmloans

    If I ever come to Texas, and decide not to eat BBQ for a meal, Ill check it out

    Whats the verdict on Whataburger? Is it basically Hardees?

  • NankirPhelge

    Not quite on point, but I recently saw “The Founder,” the story of how McDonald’s came to rule the earth. Very very interesting story that kept my attention throughout. Excellent performance by Michael Keaton.

    At first you admire Ray Kroc for how hard he worked, and then later on not so much. I give it Four Shakes.

  • mgbode

    Yeah, Whataburger wouldn’t even be my first choice among pure fast food options (better than McD’s, BK, Wendy’s, sure). Smashburger is better.

  • maxfnmloans

    I want to see that movie. Im a Keaton fan, tho

  • JNeids

    +1 for Flip Side. The One Red Door burger is my go-to.

  • maxfnmloans

    Peanuts are for ball games and the floor at Ground Round

  • RGB

    “Victor Martinez: Worst. Baserunner. Ever?”
    Obviously, he’s never watched Manny Ramirez.

  • BenRM

    I haven’t been to Flip Side, but anywhere that serves Middlefield Cheese (or whatever they’ve re-branded as) is fine by me!

    I think my favorite burger spot in the NEO area is The Rail – sounds similar to Flip Side with it’s emphasis on local ingredients.

  • RGB

    In-N-Out Burger >> Five Guys.

  • RGB

    B Spot serves beer, also.

  • maxfnmloans

    see, Ive heard that, and I know In-N-Out has an almost cult like following, but Ive also heard from non-native SoCal folks that its really not all that. Now, again, Im not the biggest fan of Five Guys (it was okay, maybe a once a year thing, but never could be a regular lunch spot). But far as i can tell, the animal sauce is just thousand island with some onions in it?

  • mgbode

    In-N-Out straddles the line between pure fast food and the Five Guy style.

  • RGB

    Obviously, the Galley Boy (cue the heavenly voices) is the best burger on the planet, but as far as chain burgers, I thought In-N-Out was the best.

  • RGB

    We pass a Whataburger when we go to Amelia Island…about 2 hours from Savannah.
    I’ve always wanted to stop and try it.

  • RGB

    We saw a Shake Shack in NYC last time we went. My brother was like “You gotta go, you gotta go!” Now way I was going to eat at a chain in NYC. I passed.

  • architrance

    Five Guys is about quantity over quality for me, I’m pretty much through with them. Shake Shack has more of a focus on quality – things that actually taste great. No comparison in my book. I haven’t had an In&Out in a long time, but I’ve heard they’ve gone way down hill, especially when compared with Shake Shack.

  • maxfnmloans

    never been there, but their website made me hungry

  • BKJD

    Shake Shack’s demonstrated over and over that it works, so I’m not sure “stick with what works” applies. It’s a great slightly elevated fast food option.

  • BKJD

    It’s akin to but of higher quality than Five Guys.

  • All I want in this world is a Swensons location here in the Tampa Bay area. And if Great Lakes would start distributing down here that would be great, too.

  • RGB

    I think Charlotte is as far as GL distributes.
    Still…four hours north of me. :/

  • CBiscuit

    One way to settle this: Race off. VMart, Roberto Perez, a glacier, and partially-stepped on snail.

  • RGB

    If this is just about basepath speed, I submit Sid Bream.

    But, to get the full Manny experience, there has to be a ball in play.

  • maxfnmloans

    this may seem like blasphemy, but I dont like beer with food

  • jpftribe

    The In-N-Out hype is real. Great stuff.

  • mgbode

    Smashburger COMING SOON!
    5300 E Bay Dr Clearwater, FL 33764

    Here’s a favorite:

    Regular cheeseburger
    Mont-Jack cheese

    Chipotle bun w/ butter
    Fried Egg
    Fried Pickles
    BBQ Sauce

    1000+ calories of goodness. Of course, you also need to order large SmashFries, which takes you over 1700. And, worth it.

    If you really want to complete the meal, the Chocolate Peanut Butter shake is fantastic (add another 1K calories).

  • RGB

    I prefer food with my beer.

  • kdog3

    Not that impressed by Shake Shack. It’s good, but it is no Swensons, Skyway or Whitey’s (in Richfield, best burger ever!)! I’d prefer they put in one of NEO own!

  • chrisdottcomm

    Knowing that the majority of the commenters are currently out of state I will let it slide that it was not mentioned that the Schvitz actually has the best burger in the entire city.

  • RGB

    Forgot about Whitey’s.

  • RGB

    We used to go this greasy little place called Hamburger Station. I think it was near Arlington and 77.
    Don’t even know if it still exists.

  • Return of the (Alex) Mack

    So Cal Native: In N Out is a lot better than 5 guys

  • aconite1

    Shake Shack will probably be a great addition to Cleveland restaurant scene, definitely when you want something a little special over fast food slop.

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