The debut of a new Shake Shack on Monday created bumper-to-bumper traffic along Harrisburg Avenue near the Crossings at Conestoga Creek shopping center.

By the time the burger-and-shake franchise opened its first Lancaster County location at 11 a.m., the line of cars waiting to get into the Manheim Township restaurant stretched a half mile from the parking lot to Harrisburg Pike and past Long’s Park nearly all the way to Route 30.

First through one of the two drive-thru lanes at the 1100 Christopher Place restaurant were Mike and Angela Dotson, who left their York County home in Hanover shortly before 6 a.m. and arrived at the restaurant a little after 7 a.m. The retired couple said they came early at the behest of their daughter Rachel, who wanted the Shake Shack merchandise being given out to some of the first customers.

“I didn’t have any way to anticipate how large of a crowd would show up,” Angela Dotson said.

Swag included a canvas bag, key chain and some Lancaster County-themed Shake Shack stickers. Advertised as being for the first 100 customers at the drive-thru, the giveaway was also extended to some of the 50-some customers standing outside when the doors opened.

“I couldn’t wait. I’ve been counting the days,” said Gil Figueroa of Lancaster, who was standing outside the doors with his 1 1/2-year-old son Eliot for whom a Shake Shack burger was going to be his first restaurant burger.

“I had it in New York in 2008 for the first time but haven’t had one since,” Figueroa said.

The 3,500-square-foot Shake Shack next to Starbucks has seating inside for 75 and room for 25 under a covered patio. The restaurant operates with 87 employees.

Begun in New York city in 2001 with a hot dog cart, Shake Shack now has some 250 U.S. locations where it features burgers, hot dogs and fries as well as shakes and frozen custard. Originally focused on having restaurants in urban settings where it is difficult to have drive-thrus, Shake Shack has only recently begun opening restaurants where customers can order from their cars. The Manheim Township restaurant is only the 13th Shake Shack in the nation with drive-thru lanes.

“We’re so excited about just drive-thrus in general being a new concept we’re really going all in on,” said Megan Varner, a Shake Shack spokesperson who helped coordinate the opening of the Crossings at Conestoga Creek restaurant, which included a 10:30 a.m. ribbon cutting. “We’re still kind of new to the whole drive-thru thing.”

Derek Applegate, general manager for the new restaurant, said Shake Shack’s drive-thru will try to offer quick service without compromising the quality of custom-made food and drinks.

“We’re never going to be the fastest, but we can be the most hospitable,” said Applegate, who said the goal will be to have a drive-thru customer’s order ready in seven minutes.

Applegate, who has worked with Shake Shack since 2012, moved from the Philadelphia area to Strasburg last May to be general manager of the new restaurant.

“It’s incredible. It’s been a long journey. I don’t think I can convey the words appropriately how happy I am that today is finally here,” said Applegate, whose “Come on in, Lancaster” at precisely 11 a.m. officially opened the doors and drive-thru lanes. Five minutes later, the Dotsons drove away with their order.

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