History has shown us that when being invaded, one party’s failure to cooperate seldom ends peacefully. Although in this instance World War Three won’t be the outcome, for some New Yorkers, it may feel like it: Shake Shack is not coming to Grand Central just yet.
A legal battle is looking certain as Grand Central Mexican restaurant Zócalo has refused to vacate its space in the terminal to make way for the new Shake Shack, according to Crain’s. Last summer, word of the famous burger franchise’s intentions of moving into the landmark leaked out like a melting shake, but a year later there are still no shackstacks available in its marble corridors.
“Zócalo is desperately pursuing any possible means to remain in possession of space it no longer has the legal right to occupy, contrary to the legal rights of the MTA and Shake Shack,” an MTA spokesman told Crain’s. He noted that a civil court in a landlord-tenant proceeding already ruled that the Mexican eatery is in unlawful possession of the space, since its lease has expired.
In the current lawsuit, Mr. Shapiro, who also owns two Flex Mussels restaurants in the city, alleges that because Shake Shack is a chain that operates 14 locations, including outposts in Dubai and Kuwait City, it is ineligible for the spot under the request for proposals restrictions. The request limited bidders to chains with fewer than 10 operating locations, according to the suit.
Like in invasions of the past everybody loses. Owner Danny Meyer must wait to open his 6th Manhattan shack. A mediocre Mexican restaurant looks to be entering a legal battle it cannot win but most importantly it could well be another year before commuters will be able to get their hands on one of the coveted patties.