I can’t seem to remember the first time I noticed the little shack with lights in Madison Square Park. For many years I have been taking the express bus from Brooklyn to Manhattan and for all that time it seems to have always been there. I had never paid any attention to it or ever thought about going there until recently. Apparently Shake Shack is all the rage.
Last summer I went to Five Guys for the first time (http://bit.ly/w9tLAh) and knew that Shake Shack would have to be my next stop on my quest for up and coming fast food burger spots. A good friend of mine had been telling me for months on end that Shake Shack is nothing like Five Guys, that it was much, much better and that I had to try it as soon as physically possible. I now know he was right and I wish I had gone the first time I saw that shack in the park.
Since Shake Shack has become so popular new locations have sprung up all over the city. The most convenient location from me is in the theater district on the corner of 44th street and 8th avenue. It also happens to be one of the largest. Shake Shack is known for long lines and the one in Madison Square Park is often so packed people can wait for hours. There is now even a web cam so you can plan your visit accordingly. This is another reason I wanted to check out the theater district location. Plus the odds that I need a meal before a show are high. I love starting off the evening on a good note. It gives me a natural high. As if eating fries and vanilla shakes counts as natural.
Luckily when I arrived it was before the early dinner rush and my friends and I were able to stalk out a leaving party for their table. This technique is a lot like what you have to do in NYC to get a cab in the rain. You have to be able to take what you need without regard for how many other people are waiting. It can be a blood sport but you have to keep your eye on the prize. I was sitting down and eating my dinner here because that was my plan. When there is a will there is a way.
Now that I had my seat all that was left was to decide what to order. While there are more than just burgers and fries here, I choose to go with just that for my first order. And what is a visit to a shake shack without a shake, so I got a plan vanilla shake. Although next time I am so going for the one that has pieces of Doughnut Plant jelly doughnut in it. God knows I love that place. (http://bit.ly/FP2XYN)
Let me just say my name is The Queen of F-cking Everything and I am addicted to Shake Shack. The burger tastes so good it’s almost indescribable. The special sauce looks like ketchup and mayonnaise but there is something else in there making is special. The fries were crispy yet not greasy. The shake was of course the best part. It is custard based and delicious. It was refreshing and not too heavy. Overall this is a place I could eat twice a week and never get tired of.
Now the big question, how does it really compare to Five Guys? Well my friend was right, it doesn’t. Back when I tried Five Guys for the first time I thought it was a big step up from what fast food had been. But now I know better and bigger. Maybe something will come along in the future and make Shake Shack seem like a thing of the past for me too. But for right now it is my new favorite burger joint. I am eager to go back in the summer when they make their limited edition corn dog I saw featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. This place only gets better and better.
To plan your visit to the Shake Shack: