Shake Shack x The Super Mario Bros. Movie takeover event
A night of music, mushrooms, and Mario karts
Last weekend, I got the opportunity to visit a very exclusive event at a Shake Shack in Brooklyn, New York. In preparation for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie, an entire Shake Shack location was converted into a Mario themed celebration for one magical night only. In addition to hosting exclusive burgers and shakes, the event was also hosted by none other than Chance the Rapper.
Now, when you think Mario, Chance the Rapper and Shake Shack probably aren’t the first things that come into your head, but I tried to keep an open mind. After all, a Mario event in the heart of Brooklyn (Mario’s stomping grounds, of course) featuring good music and good burgers? What more could you ask for? I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I ended up having a great time.
Before stepping inside the restaurant, it was obvious that something special was happening here beyond the norm of your typical Shake Shack activity. Two very large, eye-catching displays were outside on the street, practically begging passers-by to stop and take photos with them. The first was a giant, oversized question mark block, rendered in a full three dimensions. The block was shiny and well painted, with a clean, beautiful look to it. It was especially pretty at night lit up with the nearby Brooklyn Bridge in the background. Unfortunately, although I tried punching the block several times, no coins or power-ups came out.
Next to the question mark block was another marvel of the Mario mythos, a real version of the Super Mario Bros. plumbing van. We’ve seen the van depicted in commercials and promos for the movie, but it’s something else to see it in real life. I’m not sure if someone was actually driving this vehicle around the city, but it did appear to be an actual functioning car in spite of its fictional decals. Like the question mark block, the van made for a great photo opportunity, and was an indicator that something more exciting awaited inside the store.
The teasers of things to come were even on display in the store windows, as the window decals depicted hordes of fire flowers, mushrooms, and a poster for the movie itself. All these things worked to get me more and more hyped for what was to come as I waited in line to get inside. (This was absolutely the most high security Shake Shack I’ve ever been inside.)
There were also several tables and chairs outside decorated with red and black Super Mario Bros imagery. However, as it was somewhere around 45 degrees that night, I don’t think too many people were taking advantage of the outdoor seating.
Now, let’s get to the event itself which took place indoors. This is Shake Shack, of course, so they had to have a couple of special Mario themed menu items available. The first of these was the “4 Cheese ‘Shroom and Fire Sauce Burger’. If you’re a fan of Shake Shack, then you’re probably familiar with their mushroom patty burgers. These are some of my personal favorites, yet somehow, it never occurred to me before this night how perfect that would be for a Mario promotion. Fortunately, the marketing people in charge of this event took full advantage of the opportunity.
If you like the Shake Shack’s shroom burger, I think you’d enjoy this fire charged version of it. It’s got the same basic flavor and texture, but it feels a little bit fancier and fuller with the blend of cheeses (muenster, fontina, parmesan, and cheddar). Of course, the Calibrian chili sauce also adds a nice kick to it.
The other new item is for anyone who loves sweets out there, and that’s the Gold Star Shake, which seems to be have been inspired by Princess Peach. This is a peach and strawberry flavored frozen custard, topped with whipped cream, blue sprinkles, and a dried star fruit. As strawberry and mango shakes go, this was a great one. I thought it was just the right amount of sweet and fruity without being too overwhelming. That said, I’m not fully sold on the blue sprinkles, as sprinkles in shakes can get stuck in your straw, and that’s no fun for anybody. I suppose you could also eat the dried star fruit, although I don’t think it would taste very good. What it does do is make the shake stand out from other generic options, and screams that this is a Mario-related item more than the burger did.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like either the burger or the shake are going to be sold at Shake Shacks outside of this special event. It would be a lot of fun to have these on the menu for the duration of the Super Mario Bros. Movie’s run in theaters. Don’t feel too bad though if you missed out. While I enjoyed both items, they’re not terribly different from things you can get on their normal menu already.
Once you were done scarfing down burgers, fries, and shakes throughout the evening, there were a few other activities to take part in. First, there was a special station featuring an actual life-size Mario kart. Not only did it look cool with lots of attention to detail, but there was also a professional photographer on hand to take your photo in it. Of course, I partook of the opportunity, as you can see from the photo above. (They made me get out after I started throwing banana peels all over the floor.)
As stated earlier, Chance the Rapper himself was hosting this exclusive event. Going in, I wasn’t totally sure if he would actually be there in person, or if his contributions would be in name only. But in fact, he was there the whole night in a special little VIP corner of the restaurant. There, he could be seen schmoozing with various guests and sharing his excitement for the Super Mario Bros. movie. He even got to try the new burger and shake out for himself, courtesy of an actual Shake Shack chef. (The verdict: He likes them!)
At one point, Chance took to the microphone, and although he did not perform any of his music, he did shout out some words of encouragement for the fans. Making it clear that he was just as excited about the Mario Bros. Movie as the rest of us, he exclaimed, “I have plenty of childhood stories of Mario. But I’ll just say I’m very proud of him. He’s got a movie coming out - and it doesn’t have Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo - it’s got Chris Pratt!” Some readers might be willing to go to bat for the original Mario movie, but Chance the Rapper is clearly more excited about this updated take.
Chance also made his undying love for Shake Shack known, sharing an anecdote from ten years earlier when a friend saved a spot for him in line to get burgers just after filming a music video. After getting the crowd pumped up, he finished with a mic drop. (To my surprise, the crowd didn’t start chanting to get him to perform the DK rap, but you can’t have everything.)
The other side of the restaurant held a variety of Mario movie swag that guests could try to get their hands on, including t-shirts, backpacks, hats, fanny packs, pins, and even the new limited edition Truff hot sauce. At one point before the event opened up, I noticed a family with a young daughter taking photos outside. Since the event wasn’t open to the general public, one of the people working inside popped the door open and gave the girl a free Luigi hat, which almost certainly made her night. This was a heartwarming highlight of the event for me, and representative of the spirit that I hope Mario and inspire in people’s hearts and minds!
While Mario, Shake Shack, and Chance the Rapper might seem like a strange mishmash of themes, the event was well worth checking out. It was definitely well-attended, as the restaurant (which isn’t terribly spacious) was pretty well mobbed with people throughout the night. It’s hard to say exactly how many were there because of their love of Mario, their love of burgers, or just to see Chance the Rapper. Either way, it was a good opportunity for people’s love of those three things to come together for a special promotional occasion.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie will be in theaters on April 5th, 2023! If you’re still looking for a way to celebrate the big night, maybe following up your screening with a visit to Shake Shack while Chance the Rapper plays in your car is the way to go.