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Shake Shack-What Am I Missing?

OK-so the first time I went to Shake Shack I didn't give it a fair "shake" having just had a burger at Molly's (and fries and a couple of pints of Guiness)and it was 11 at night (although no lines at that hour). So I got on line at 11 in the morning (almost no line) and tried a shack burger and a regular cheeseburger for comparison and a concrete. Concrete was pretty good but not as good as the old Custard Beach place that recently went out of business (damn). At the risk of getting "flamed", the burgers just didn't cut it. First tip off was when they didn't ask how I wanted them cooked. Of course at a mere 4 ounces there isn't really any choice other than to cook it medium/well (I prefer rare). Soggy buns under heat lamps-not toasted-another hint. Mix of raw meat-sirloin and brisket-no chuck? Final blow-lettuce and special sauce, i.e. MAYO! Yuch. All I can say is that it was indeed a superior burger but only if you're comparing it to the most similar one in my experience...Johnny Rockets.

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  1. I feel the same way. After many tries I have decided that I lack the special receptors others seem to possess.

    1. Why is it hard to cook a 4-oz burger rare? That's how I order my Shack Burger and some of the time, it comes out that way (never more than medium). I love the S.B. -- one of my favorite burgers in NYC.

      1. I love the idea of shake shack...the look of it....the location...I like the menu.....the packaging....I just struggle with those burgers...very inconsistent....I'd rather get the smokey goodness from the burger joint or the perfect meat and bun from the spotted pig (tell them to go light on the cheese)....if it wasn't for the lines though, I would continue with shake shack as well

        1. I can kind of understand guttergourmet's view on the Shake Shack.

          Sometimes, my husband and I wonder if its worth waiting in line for, but we've always had a consistently great quality burger there. The burger is tasty and juicy, lettuce is always a beautiful shade of green and crispy and the bun taste like it just came out of the oven. Its the kind of place where quality is the key ingredient.

          1. I think SS serves a very solid burger, not to die for though. And, not worth an hour's wait. I think it's the overall experience (nice outside park, etc) that gives it the extra edge?

            1. I think Shake Shack is the same as Blue Smoke, you offer people some comfort food, dress it up a bit and add good service even if the line is long and people rave about it. Shake Shack pales in comparison to what it should be compared to - In and Out and really is only marginally better than Wendys; but since it's over priced, dressed up and served outside people in this city eat it up.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wingman

                I agree with the comments. A recent transplant from LA, I waited for over 1 hour for an "OK" burger in a grease soaked bun. Someday In N Out will make it to the east coast and then Shake Shack will become just another overpriced snack bar in a really nice park.

              2. I am in agreement with the general sentiment of this thread, but not the more extreme "only marginally better than Wendys" comments. It is a far better burger than Wendy's, although not, IMHO, in the running for a NYC top ten list. And it is never worth waiting in a 45 minute line for.

                But if you catch it on a nice day without much of a line (a rare combination, I know), it's a satisfying experience.

                1 Reply
                1. Stick with Johnny Rockets and Wendy's. Shorter lines for the rest of us who are blinded by illusion...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: a_and_w

                    I don't enjoy Wendys either, if I'm going for a burger I tend to go to a steakhouse or a favorite pub, thanks for asking though.

                  2. Come on! The difference between Shake Shack and Wendy's is hyperion to a satyr. Wendy's is the worst of all the chain burgers, a gray unseasoned slab of beef scrapple made even worse by mayonaise and an untoasted bun. But why all the love for In and Out? There are a thousand better burgers in LA, and even here their clone, Blue 9, is every bit as good, for what that's worth.

                    Go to the Chelsea Gallery Restaurant, Veselka, 230 Fifth, or the Good Fork. Those are the best burgers in town. Shake Shack could be great, but they're too thick and seldom browned enough.

                    1. I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than go back to 230 Fifth. Bad service, amateur hour, over-priced and horrible attitudes. No thanks. I can't stand Wendy's but I'd put money down that the service is better.

                      1. Blue 9 isn't even close to In and Out, can't comment on other burger chains in LA. And I really do think a Wendys burger tastes like Shake Shack.

                        My favorite burger in the city is at rathbones, I also think they have the second best wings in the city (after Dino BBQ).