Q: How long has the Shake Shack stood above Crystal Cove?

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Illustration by Blair Thornley

A: This beachfront landmark appeared not long after that segment of Coast Highway opened in the late 1920s, when roadside date shake and orange juice stands were synonymous with Southern Cali-fornia. Early on, it was the Laguna Beach Hot Dog Stand. By the 1940s and ’50s, the focus was on orange juice, although nuts, shakes, and dried fruit were also sold. The shack was remodeled in 1968. In the mid-1970s Virginia McKinney took the reins, renamed it Sunshine Cove, and added health-food options to the menu. The state bought the land as part of Crystal Cove State Park in 1979, and the stand became a park concession. Ruby’s, which took over in 2006, still serves date and “Monkey Flip” (chocolate, banana, date, and peanut butter) shakes, and after a brief dalliance with a blue and white paint job has returned the building to its traditional bright yellow.

Chris Jepsen is the Answer Man. Have a question?
Send it to cjepsen@socal.rr.com.

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