September 18, 2021

Now Serving in Chicago: Shake Shack x Sarah Grueneburg Collab

Chef Sarah Grueneberg

This week, as part of our Now Serving Series we’re heading to Chicago to kick off a collaboration with Sarah Grueneberg, executive chef and partner of Monteverde!

Keeping it local

When it comes to partnerships, it’s no secret that we keep our standards high—seeking out leaders in the culinary industry to bring our guests crave-worthy menu items made with local, quality ingredients. We’re thrilled to join forces with Sarah Grueneberg to serve Chicago Shack fans the Monteverde Chicken Parm for a good cause.

This one-day-only collab sandwich features a crispy chicken breast topped with Monteverde’s spicy tomato sauce, sliced buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, giardiniera buttermilk mayo, and shredded greens on a toasted potato roll.

Monteverde chicken parm

Good eats for a good cause

Net proceeds from the Monteverde Chicken Parm will be donated to Inspiration Kitchens, a non-profit that trains low-income and homeless Chicagoans for careers in the food industry—giving them the opportunity to leave poverty behind for good.

As a part of our mission to Stand for Something Good®, we’re committed to supporting and investing in our local communities.

Chef Sarah making a Monteverde chicken parm sandwich

Meet the chef

We recently sat down with Chef Sarah to get the scoop on everything from the inspiration behind Monteverde to her go-to Shack order: 

Tell us about yourself and your career.

I grew up helping my grandparents in the kitchen on their ranch in Victoria, Texas. Ever since then I knew I was destined to cook! I graduated from culinary school in 2001 and started my career at the iconic Brennan’s of Houston. In 2003 I was named the restaurant’s youngest female sous chef. I came to Chicago in 2005 to join the team at the award-winning Spiaggia. Beginning as a line cook, I was able to rise through the ranks and eventually became Chef di Cucina in 2008 and then Executive Chef in 2010. That same year, I was asked to be a participant on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Texas”, where I learned so much about myself as a chef alongside my fellow competitors and (now) good friends.

In 2013, my business partner and long-time friend Meg Sahs and I decided to open our own restaurant, Monteverde. We opened in 2015 and have been so honored by the awards and reviews that have come since. In 2017, a personal dream of mine came true when I won the James Beard Foundation’s Award for “Best Chef: Great Lakes”. Now I am fulfilling another dream, writing a cookbook! 

What inspired you to open Monteverde?

My love of Italy’s culture and cuisine inspired Monteverde. During my time at Spiaggia, I became inspired by the different regions of Italy and all they had to offer in ingredient variety, preparation styles and passion. During my first trip to Italy, I worked at a restaurant and saw chefs making their pasta to order. My mind was blown! I knew I wanted to share that experience with our guests at Monteverde.

What makes the Chicago dining scene so special? What are some of your favorite spots?

The diversity and versatility of the chefs and restaurants here! There are so many options to explore which makes me feel like I’m travelling without ever leaving the city. Some of my favorite spots in Chicago are Gibson’s, Virtue, QXY, Galit and Mi Tocaya—to name a few. 

What’s your most cherished recipe?

Probably my grandma Lillian’s stuffed cabbage. When Monteverde opened I really wanted to figure out how to put a version on our menu during the fall/winter months. Five years in, it’s one of the most requested dishes by our guests. It’s so special for me to share that with everyone. 

Can you break down the Monteverde Chicken Parm? What inspired the ingredients/flavors?

It all started in 2013 when Bobby Flay invited me to battle him on his show “Beat Bobby Flay.” It was a Chicken Parm battle and I had the idea to use the whole bird for the dish. I won, and of course the rest is history! At Monteverde, we still use the whole bird and make a “sausage stuffing” out of the leg meat and the cheese. 

Of all the restaurants in the world, why partner with Shake Shack?

Deliciousness! This collaboration is a great opportunity to introduce Monteverde’s flavors to people that may have not dined with us yet, all while supporting a cause I truly believe in.

Burning questions

  • • What’s your go-to Shake Shack order? Chicken sandwich with cheese fries!
  • • What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with? Pasta—it’s so versatile.
  • • Describe the Monteverde Chicken Parm in three words. Crispy, unctuous and comforting.

Monteverde chicken parm sandwich with The Bean in the background

Where and when to snag the Monteverde Chicken Parm

Get it while it’s hot! Shack fans in the Windy City can grab the one-day-only Monteverde Chicken Parm on Thursday, June 17th at the River North Shack

Swing by the Shack and order IRL, or skip the wait and opt for contactless payment and pick-up by ordering ahead on our Shack App.


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