NEW YORK (AP) — Like many a Midwesterner, Steak 'n Shake is moving to Manhattan with hopes of being as popular in the big city as it is at home.
The Indianapolis-based diner chain, which throughout the South and Midwest has made itself a gathering place for high schoolers too young to get into clubs, retirees with a penchant for morning gossip and partiers who need a late-night double cheeseburger, plans to announce Monday that it is opening its first New York City location this week.
The newest Steak 'n Shake will open Thursday in the Times Square area, next to the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Like a lot of things in New York, there's less space and less time to linger. The restaurant will be smaller than a regular Steak 'n Shake, and guests will have to order at the counter instead of from a waitress. Some less-fundamental menu items, like salads and breakfast foods, will be missing. And it won't be open 24 hours, but only from 10 a.m. to midnight. The new, smaller restaurant will be called Steak 'n Shake Signature to differentiate it from the full-menu restaurants.
Beer and wine, however, will be on the menu. And prices will be the same as they are everywhere in the country, which means $3.99 for a double burger with fries.
Steak 'n Shake is among a string of similar restaurants, like IHOP and Denny's, test-driving smaller versions of themselves that are more like fast food than sit-down dining. It's a strategy that can lower start-up costs, enable a restaurant to move into areas with tight space like airports and college campuses, and attract customers who don't have time for a sit-down meal.
Steak 'n Shake is owned by Biglari Holdings, the investment firm run by activist investor Sardar Biglari. He recently lost a fight with the management of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., where he is a shareholder, for a seat on the board.