Crystal Cove Shake Shack, Newport Beach, California
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
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Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
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Incongruously located on expensive prime beach-front properly is the plebeian Crystal Cove Shake Shack in Newport Beach, California. Operating since 1946, the Shake Shack has a road food menu of burgers, shakes, and fries. The Shake Shack is famous for its date shakes, made fresh daily. That would be date, the oblong edible fruit of a palm tree, rather than date, a social engagement between two persons of the opposite sex. Although, taking your date for a date shake is highly recommended.

The Crystal Cove Shake Shack is a delightful road food experience.

As of May 2006, the operation of the Shake Shack has been transferred to Ruby's Restaurant Group. The Shake Shack in on California State Park land and is operated as a franchise. The operators from 1990-2006 were Katie and Mike Flamson. The Flamsons declined to re-bid in 2006 since the new operation will include both the shack and a more traditional restaurant. We can hope that Ruby's will maintain the fine Shake Shack traditions.

Visit a Crystal Cove Shake Shack listing.


Mid-1940s: An aerial photo shows a building with a sign that reads "Juice Stand."

1950s: The structure had a sign that read "Orange Juice" in large letters.

1968: The building was remodeled, a key reason the shack wasn't added to Crystal Cove Historic District, like the cottages below.

Mid-1970s: Virginia McKinney ran the stand for about 15 years.

1979: The land was purchased by the state – along with about 3,000 acres of the Crystal Cove State Park – from the Irvine Co. It immediately became a concession within the state park system.

1988: When the stand was threatened by a road-widening project, more than 2,000 people signed a petition and persuaded state officials to spare the building.

1989: McKinney's contract expired and the state put the concession contract up for public bid.

1990: The Flamson family entered into a contract with the state to manage the concession. The contract was renewed three times.

May 1, 2006: Ruby's officially took over the building, closing it for a week for a make over. It opened Monday, May 8, under Ruby's management.

Sources: Register archives, California State Parks



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