Student's ‘City of Butter-ly Love’ Ice Cream Dish Wins Shake Shack Contest

"The City of Butter-ly Love," designed by Drexel student Emily Lloyd, will be featured on the University City Shake Shack menu in July.

A little more than a month ago, DrexelNow first reported on the Shake Shack contest. Drexel students went through the first round of cuts in a competition to create a blended frozen custard, or “concrete,” for the chain’s University City menu. Finally, after many evaluations, assessments and lots and lots of tastings, a winner was announced on May 19.

During the month of July, the Shake Shack on campus will feature the “City of Butter-ly Love” concrete, which mixes vanilla custard with butter cake (a Philly favorite), caramel and brown butter bits. Emily Lloyd, a junior culinary arts major in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management, designed the sweet treat to win the competition. 

“This concrete shows a strong connection to Philly, especially with the butter cake,” said Mark Rosati, Shake Shack’s culinary development manager. “It’s very unique. The brown butter bits are a little bit of a foodie choice, with scientific alchemy happening to make those. And then there’s the salted caramel and vanilla, which are very comforting flavors.”

Rosati and other members of the Shake Shack team chose Lloyd’s dish from the top three concrete contenders. Those, in turn, had been selected in April from a pool of 15 different recipe submissions made by Drexel students across the University. Proceeds from Lloyd's winning dish will benefit the Drexel Food Lab in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management.

Lloyd also created another of the top-three choices, the “Tahini-Meeny-Miney-Mo.” This concrete featured vanilla custard, honey, sesame brittle and Soom tahini, a local brand she had worked with in the Drexel Food Lab. Dana Bloom, a culinary arts and hospitality management senior, designed the final top concrete, “Banana Boathouse Row” and used chocolate custard, bananas, graham cracker crumbs, toasted marshmallows and local PB and Jams almond butter (another Drexel Food Lab client).

The students were encouraged to design a concrete that was practical enough to be served in a real-life Shake Shack, but whimsical enough to show a strong connection to Philadelphia.

Shake Shack creates specific concretes with hometown ties for its 88 national and international locations. The University City location features concretes made with coffee beans from its fellow Chestnut Square neighbor Joe Coffee (“The Study Buddy”) and donuts from Federal Donuts on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus (“Declaration of Donuts”).

The sweet contest was made possible when Ryan Hux, the general manager of the University City Shake Shack, reached out to Drexel’s Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, professor of culinary arts and food science in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management. This was in the winter, “when no one was thinking about summer or ice cream,” joked Deutsch. They developed this contest to have a Drexel-designed concrete fill an opening for a limited-edition concrete on the menu. A portion of the proceeds from “City of Butter-ly Love” will benefit the Drexel Food Lab in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management 

“When we design a new Shake Shack we don’t think of it as part of a large chain,” said Rosati. “To us, each restaurant has its own soul and its own unique feel and look that is very much rooted in its community. I think there’s no better way to possibly do something like this than looking across campus here at our neighbors at Drexel.”

According to Rosati, Shake Shack had never before partnered with culinary students to create menu items, though it has locations on college campuses including Drexel.

“This contest with Shake Shack really exemplifies what we do here at Drexel that’s a little bit different from other culinary programs,” said Deutsch. “We’re trying to push typical culinary education by getting our students involved and actually using their culinary skills to interface with real people in the real world."