Yup, yet another Shake Shack opened. I’ve no shame in admitting my adoration of Shake Shack. I love the burger, hate the hype. It’s a good burger, made better by my personal preferences (smaller burger with a lot of flavor going on but not too much in the way of toppings). It is indeed my favorite burger in the city, though I know that it isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite (too much hype; not enough burger; whatever your preference, this might not be it). In any case, I’ve enjoyed going to the various other Shake Shacks as they’ve opened (UWS and Citi Field) and comparing to the original at Madison Square Park. So of course I headed there when I could (especially when I heard the line wasn’t all that bad). In fact, the line was surprising – out the door – but then there isn’t much room inside for waiting, so that explains the line out the door (tons of seating inside, so not so much with the line-room).
As you’re waiting on line, this sign faces you… and tells you that you need to get some custard for dessert.
From waiting on line to getting our food was a quick 30 minutes – it didn’t even feel that long, to be honest, and this is pretty fast. At first I was like “That’s too long” but then if you think about it, if you went to a sit down establishment with servers, you’d probably wait that long from the time you walk in to the time you get your food, too… A double Shackburger, a single Shackburger, a large Abita root beer on tap (!) (which was fizzy goodness at first, but as the carbonation wore off it turned very licorice in its finish, which I didn’t like), and a Fair Trade coffee shake (which was pretty good… very strong coffee).
My single Shackburger already worried me as I looked at it. On the menu as we’d come in, it’d stated that all burgers were served plain unless otherwise requested. Ummm, then what differentiates this from a hamburger? So we both stated we wanted “everything” on the Shackburgers, which the girl responded with a “Oh… everything, ok” and punched some buttons on her screen. Hmmm. Okay. I don’t really recall raw onions on my previous Shackburgers, but no big deal. What worried me was the thick slices of pickle sticking out, and something looked off about my burger.
There it was. The burger patty was noticeably thicker than any I’d had at Shake Shack in the past. Some people might say that’s a great thing, but honestly, I like the thickness of the Shackburger at the other locations. I prefer a smaller burger, and adding that… centimeter? (I am terrible at measurements – I can eyeball a parking spot and slip in like a glove, but I can’t tell you how many inches something is) to the thickness really changes the way it tastes. It’s still a good burger – good char on it, very flavorful, and the Shack sauce brings it to new heights – but I can’t comfortably call this the Shackburger as I know it. I would still go here – it’s the same general formula, plus the line is not that awful, and there’s indoor seating (air conditioning!) – but I know what I’m getting, and it isn’t the original Shackburger. Sigh.
Next: dessert. We hit a snag here. There was a C-line for just cold stuff – beer, wine, custards, and for strollers/wheelchairs – that was roped off like it was good to go, but no one was waiting on it, so we thought everyone just wanted burgers. As it turned out, our ding dong selves skipped over the part that said “COMING SOON” under the sign… durrr! We’d held off ordering dessert cuz, uh, it would melt before we got to it, if we ordered it with dinner. Luckily, being good looking pays off sometimes, as a pitiful stare and a mumbled, “Ohhh…” when told the C-line was not “operational” yet yielded a sympathetic counterman who asked what we needed. Just a simple concrete, sir, and a flavor-of-the-day cone… please… and it came to us. Yay!
Coffee bean brownie concrete – vanilla custard, brownies, coffee caramel and whipped cream. This wasn’t mine so I took a bite or two, which was very good – awesome vanilla custard (I love their frozen custard!), crunchy brownies that didn’t turn totally soggy from the custard, and intense coffee caramel. YUM.
I’ve actually only ever had vanilla custard at Shake Shack cuz I like it so much, plain!, plus like, one concrete, and salted caramel custard (which I didn’t like that much). But the flavor was cavaillon melon, which, when I Google’d it, sounded like a cross between canteloupe and honeydew, two of my favorite melons everrr. So there was no question I wanted that; while the initial flavor was very melon-y, it seemed a bit muted as time went on. I would have rather the melon be much more pronounced; otherwise, it was much like eating frozen custard with a hint of melon every once in a while. Also, there were a ton of ice shards, which seemed odd – don’t they make this that day or the day before? I guess not… Even weirder, the cone was really stale. The location just opened last week. Did they take all the old cones from one of the other locations? Ah well. I’ll stick to vanilla or concretes…
Yvo says: Yeah, it’s a new Shake Shack, and it’s great that the wait is shorter, and there’s tons of indoor AND outdoor seating… but the burger is markedly different. I guess if I’m in the area, and I want a Shackburger, I’ll go here, but… I’m really not in the UES that much. So I’m iffy on it. Ah well.
recommended if you’re in the area
yea my last burger at the MSP SS was a thicker patty too and wasn’t as good.
Fair Trade Shakes are awesome!
I think I will stick to MSP though.
I LOVE a good Shackburger. I haven’t really had good luck with concretes–but the coffee bean/brownie one almost made me dash out of the office and head there (and it’s 9am–nice!)
It DOES pay to be as good-looking as me — not only did the very helpful guy get those desserts to me in record time, I’m pretty sure the price he quoted me was lower than the actual cost.
I would have enjoyed my double more if it had come with the requested tomato, and not been so medium-well. I guess the new location is so close I can keep going back to see how they’ve improved!
Feisty Foodie says
I was pretending it was me who went up and got the desserts, but I guess everyone knows I’m too lazy to do that.
Yes, and I want the accolades I deserve for doing the work. Nyah.
Wow, aren’t you a modest one!
Simon Food Favourites says
yum yum. i’ll looking forward to visiting New York in October for the first time to try these burgers 🙂
Did you see any mice? : )
Standing in line for 30 minutes to take my own burger to the table [and clean up after myself] is not worth a burger to me, no matter how good. It is like that stupid cupcake place near my alma mater in DC where the wait can be up to an hour for the privilege of buying a 2.75 two bite “wonder”. Gimmicky.
Five Guys used to be our Shake Shack [we lived near the original way back when] but now since the owners wanted to be insanely rich [nothing wrong with that I suppose] and franchised it is just okay – not what we remember. They certainly wouldn’t be winning the award as best burger in the DC area anymore. I hope that doesn’t happen to your beloved SS.
I love food as much as the next person – but things like this are better off made at home – where I know they will taste better and cost less.
Feisty Foodie says
We didn’t actually stand in line for 30 minutes; it was 30 minutes from getting on line to getting our food (that includes ordering and then waiting for the food to be freshly cooked). (Also: $2.75! Cupcakes here are much more expensive.)
The owner(s) of Shake Shack are already insanely rich (he owns several other very popular restaurants, some of which I’ve reviewed and liked, some I haven’t liked); he’s expanding his Shake Shack empire to respond to demand. His next location will be in DC, actually, so maybe you can go try it out and see what you think.
Oh I will definitely be going [on your recommendation alone :)] but I am still going to feel like I feel for the brand if it doesn’t meet my [very high] expectations that I have garnered from you and other people that swear by SS.
Now tell me again what you order at the one in the park? I want that.
[Yes I did totally just contradict myself.]
Feisty Foodie says
Also, I can’t say I agree that this would cost less to make at home: it would cost less for me to make a burger, yes. But to source their blend of beef (yes, they have a special blend of meat for their burgers) and then make them just as good or better might actually cost more for me to make at home. 🙂
The one near Times Sq. is also about 30 mins wait too, from being on the line to receiving food, which is much better than MSP’s craziness. Efficiency applauded.
Hhhhmmm, Maybe I should get my Double Shackburger with pickles next time. Their custard and shakes are good too. Pass on their fries per usual.
And I’m sure it’s because BeerBoor is ancient and the staff takes kindly to elders (J/K! Keep working on your Blue Steel!).
This may be the greatest mystery in my decades of Manhattan eating. This place is so supremely mediocre and gets such rave reviews that I’m suspecting some mass dementia of some kind. I don’t get it at all.