Shake Shack, Unshackled

In honor of the long-awaited opening of Shake Shack’s Morningside Heights location happening soon, we bring you a conspiracy theory on why Shake Shack is replacing Ollie’s. 

The campus has been in an uproar for the past few months, ever since it was announced that Shake Shack will be taking over the spot where Ollie’s once stood. The lot, once abandoned and sadly decrepit, is now bustling with construction work; you can even see the new Shake Shack menu inside now. It’s as though Shake Shack swooped in like a guardian angel of hungry college kids and turned a wasteland into a paradise of overpriced burgers. (No offense to Shake Shack fans, but let’s be real; it is quite overpriced.)

But what if that wasn’t the case? What if this was a carefully orchestrated plot all along? What if Shake Shack fully intended to kill Ollie’s and take its spot from the very beginning? Bwog received a tip that linked us to an article by DNAinfo, which quoted Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti saying, “I have said for years before that this spot, the only spot I really want, is that old Ollie’s spot on 116th and Broadway.” The article also said that Garutti told the Spectator that he has wanted to open a Morningside Heights location for seven or eight years.

At this point, readers, you might be asking, where is this article going? What is this conspiracy theory trying to say? How could Shake Shack possibly intentionally replace Ollie’s, a well-loved Columbia staple, an established Morningside Heights business, a part of the community? The answer is simple if you just pay attention; Ollie’s was displaced by a fire in 2015. Do you really think that fire was accidental?

This is our (NON-SERIOUS) theory: Shake Shack burgers are so overpriced because Garutti used that additional profit to hire internet trolls to leave bad reviews about Ollie’s on Yelp. When that didn’t work enough to put the place out of business, he hired a spy in 2010 to store food improperly and place rat dung around the place in order to give it a bad health rating. He succeeded in making Ollie’s miss that coveted A rating by 2 points, but that didn’t stop people from getting their dumpling-and-noodles fix. He also used his connections to make the Department of Labor come down on Ollie’s for violation of minimum wage, but somehow the Morningside Heights location, where the chain has its roots, managed to be left out of it. As a final resort, Garutti set a carefully controlled fire in Ollie’s. This wasn’t hard, because being a Chinese restaurant, Ollie’s had a lot of open fire in the kitchen. He couldn’t have the fire spread too much because he wouldn’t want the place to be completely destroyed, but he wanted the damage to be enough that Ollie’s would leave the spot, freeing it up for his burgers.

So, two years later, Shake Shack is on the verge of opening. We’re not saying that you should feel guilty every time you provide Shake Shack’s Morningside Heights location with your business, but the ghost of Ollie’s will haunt every single burger, french fry, and shake that you buy from Shake Shack.

Unshackled Shake Shack via Sarah Dahl