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Shake Shack - hardly a wait!

harrison May 7, 2007 12:15 PM

I had to go to Time Warner on 23rd St. to swap out a bad remote which suprisingly took only 2 minutes! Pressing my luck, I made a beeline to the Shack and the line looked suprisingly manageable for 12:15 on a beatiful day. I usually avoid during lunch, but I waited for only 17 minutes.

Double Shack and Black and White shake were well worth it. It hit the spot. Patties were perfectly crisped on the edges. I didn't find it any saltier than some earlier posters had indicated.

I'm not sure I'll tempt fate at a prime hour again, but I'm glad I did. Back to salad tomorrow!

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  1. MMRuth RE: harrison May 7, 2007 12:17 PM

    That was exactly the same errand that led me to my first Shake Shack experience. I still hold that it's not worth the lines, but great when you hit it at the right time.

    1. janethepain RE: harrison May 7, 2007 12:26 PM

      Lucky you. On Saturday, I waited over an hour and a half on line (3ish - 4:30+) to place my order, then nearly another half hour for the food - UGH. And this time, my burger wasn't worth the wait - drier than usual, and one patty had a strange liquid-turned-to-crust 'addition' (for lack of a better word). Everyone else enjoyed their food though. And yeah, I was one of the people that complained about the salt levels, but the recent two visits were completely fine.

      13 Replies
      1. re: janethepain
        roze RE: janethepain May 7, 2007 01:19 PM

        I had originally posted about the salt so I'm glad to hear your last 2 times have been better. I went to the Burger Joint for lunch today and I have never had a more dull tasting burger. I didn't even finish it. I have a whole new appreciation for my salty Shake burgers!

        1. re: janethepain
          Foodluva RE: janethepain May 7, 2007 01:30 PM

          I was there last Thursday evening and the burgers were also dried out and way overcooked. Seems like a problem with consistency....

          1. re: Foodluva
            Mickey Blue RE: Foodluva May 8, 2007 05:37 AM

            I still don't understand why they haven’t formed a better strategy in handling the lines. It strikes me as rather bizarre that even after a few years they're still unable to come up with better system.

            1. re: Mickey Blue
              ESNY RE: Mickey Blue May 8, 2007 06:38 AM

              How could there be a better strategy? It is a small structure and they can only serve so many people at once. Short of opening another Shake Shack I fail to see how they could move the line quicker. They could add registers but then you'll just be waiting for your food longer. At least this year they use the buzzers to alert you your order is ready instead of calling out names which lead to the 8 deep crowds circling around the window like vultures.

              1. re: ESNY
                Mickey Blue RE: ESNY May 8, 2007 09:23 AM

                For most other food business, the logical next step is either to expand or rearrange their current location in order to accommodate more cashier registers and food assembly areas. They're closed for a couple of months out the year. They have more then enough time to come up with a "real" solution besides the buzzers.

                1. re: ESNY
                  Kanger RE: ESNY May 8, 2007 12:01 PM

                  The Shack is non-profit, right? Don't all their profits go towards the Park Conservancy?

                  If so, I think it's great that they're not expanding. Expanding would only mean a larger footprint in the park or less seating space, and I think things are fine the way they are now. They also could have easily jacked up their prices, but they thankfully haven't done that either. I'll take the Shack the way it is now. I've probably been 30+ times now ... and there are times when I'm delighted that there's no line on a nice evening so I can just get my food quickly, and others when it's bright and sunny out and I have no qualms about waiting in line for hours with a good friend or two by my side. I'm fine with the Shack the way it is, and I don't think they're obligated to change anything. They've already sped things up from the past with expanded grill space and concerted efforts to decrease staff turnover.

                2. re: Mickey Blue
                  via jon RE: Mickey Blue May 8, 2007 10:41 AM

                  I think they purposely want to keep the lines long since these bizzarre long lines are the best advertisement to attract more customers.

                  1. re: via jon
                    Mickey Blue RE: via jon May 8, 2007 11:02 AM

                    By making their lines such a "spectacle", they make it appear that they have the best hamburgers in the Universe.

                    1. re: Mickey Blue
                      ESNY RE: Mickey Blue May 8, 2007 11:33 AM

                      Its not a club where this might work. I live in the area and for one would go alot more if there wasn't such a big line at all times.

                      They are a small structure in a park. I fail to see how they could possible add more registers or more cooking area, despite the fact that they are closed for several months during the year, and I doubt the parks department would let them build another structure in madison sq. park to accomodate the crowds. You are blaming them for being successful. I wish I could eat there more often but don't because I won't wait on line for an hour. I can't blame them for that.

                      1. re: Mickey Blue
                        The Engineer RE: Mickey Blue May 9, 2007 10:12 AM

                        All you need is a constant "line" of one person.

                      2. re: via jon
                        travelnfood RE: via jon May 8, 2007 11:09 AM

                        absolutely....that's what prompted my first visit.

                        1. re: travelnfood
                          princeofpork RE: travelnfood May 8, 2007 11:45 AM

                          They could easily surround the corners with Shake Shack Carts like all the Rafiq carts in midtown.

                          1. re: princeofpork
                            Mickey Blue RE: princeofpork May 8, 2007 02:33 PM

                            Agreed. This is not some amateur operation that’s run by some little old lady. I'm sure if they really wanted to figure out a solution, they could make it work. Maybe carts, or a "mini shack" next to the "main shack"......

                3. dpnpt RE: harrison May 8, 2007 11:54 AM

                  Went a few weeks ago on a blustery day -- no line and hot, fresh food.
                  Question: What's in the burgers that makes them soooo yummy? Is it only the meat or is it the combo of the bun, fixins, meat, grill flavor?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dpnpt
                    jakew8 RE: dpnpt May 9, 2007 11:24 AM

                    Provided that you think they're yummy (and I happen to), then it's all of the above. It's like Mozart--if you add or remove any note, you detract from the work.

                    1. re: jakew8
                      dpnpt RE: jakew8 May 9, 2007 01:25 PM

                      I agree jakew8! My SO and I have been trying desperately to recreate the magic at home, but like many things eaten on vacation, our creations lack the specific flavors...

                  2. t
                    tertzel RE: harrison May 10, 2007 07:11 PM

                    Went there today (gorgeous day) around 1PM for my first visit to the shack. On line for about a half hour, then maybe another 15 minutes for my food. I will say that the burger was actually pretty delicious and not bad price (Im not from NYC, so even going to a local chain place is like sticker shock). Had the shack burger, fries (stock like- nothing special) and a frozen custard lavendar honey which sounded interesting. The custard flavor was actually surprisingly yummy, but other than the flavor- it was just standard soft serve to me. If I came across it with less of a line, I would go back. Didnt mind the line toay as it was so beautiful so I took pictures while I waited.

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