Saturday, September 20, 2014

Guest Post: Road Trip: Shake Shack — New York City, NY

Sacha here! You might remember me from Erin's review of Tacos 46. I am also known as @zigged.

Our 2014 family road trip took us east to visit my dad in New Jersey + enjoy adventures in Ocean City, MD, and New York City. The itinerary I planned included stops at restaurants that are reported to be culinary gems. This time: Shake Shack's Theater District location.

Many moons before our trip I knew where we'd have dinner in NYC. But a few days before we left I realized that we'd need a place for lunch too. Up until that point I assumed we'd pack it but, let's be real, two teenage girls from Indianapolis were not going to willingly go to Manhattan with sandwiches in their bags. So I asked Anil Dash where to go and of course he suggested this place. #duh

We arrived around 11:45 AM and were ordering by around noon, which is a pleasant departure from some of the stories I've heard. An employee handed us menus when we queued up (AKA "waited on line" to New Yorkers) so we knew what we wanted when it was our turn. My BFF from high school, who I hadn't seen in 10 years, met us there moments before it was our turn to order so BING BANG BOOM everything worked out perfectly. We got a buzzer that lit up when our order was ready a few minutes later and we ate standing at the bar-height counter where we had been waiting. Tables were snatched up before the previous occupants could fully depart.

We each got a ShackBurger® ($4.75) and a drink plus we split two orders of fries, one plain ($2.85) and one cheese ($3.85).

So...cheeesburgers. I mean, yeah, they were good, but they won't change your life. Thin patties cooked medium and served with a tangy secret sauce—I'm not sure why people go so bonkers about them. The fries were standard crinkle cuts*, you know, like at Culver's. The cheese sauce has a Cheez Whiz consistency and unremarkable flavor and wasn't in abundance on our order. I liked the burger, and I would get it again, but I wouldn't go out of my way or wait in a long line for it.

*Apparently some locations serve different fries and that has been controversial. And apparently Shake Shack will be bringing back a new and improved version of the crinkles to all locations by the end of this year. More details here.

This spot features a selection of frozen treats created just for this location. Various items on the menu had the potential to be tempting, including the custard flavor of the day (Devil's Food). The Girls got shakes, vanilla and strawberry, but I didn't try either of them because I was excitedly chatting with my BFF from high school. This may have been different had one of them gotten the flavor of the day.

Shake Shack
691 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10036

BONUS: Here's a recipe for making a copycat burger at home, reverse engineered by an enterprising food writer, should you be so inclined.


  1. Two things.

    1. People rant about the burgers at Shake Shack because this type of restaurant was new to NYC when it opened. It's really an imitation of restaurants like Culver's which itself is an imitation of the type of burger stands that are ubiquitous in WNY, particularly those along 104 and "Hot Dog Row" at the beach on Culver Road in Rochester, NY, such as Bill Gray's (which partners with [Ritter's inspiration] Abbot's to serve custard) and Don's Original.

    2. Please, no more road-trip posts. I certainly don't mind guest posts, but I read your blog specifically because it's Indianapolis based. I read other blogs for out-of-town restaurant reviews, and there are very few writing about Indianapolis.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      thanks for your comment! Your burger analysis is interesting...

      as for road trip posts, I hear what you're saying and that's why I only post them as a bonus post on Saturdays--my twice a week posts are standardly about Indy restaurants only.Well, except when I go on a road trip every so often (going to Chicago next week and I will probably write about it.) I had a friend who took a big road trip and offered to do guest posts for me when I couldn't type--she spent a lot of time on them and I thought they were interesting. There's just one more next Saturday, and then it will be all me again--and mostly Indy! Thanks again for your feedback!


  2. well this was an epic fail-haha. If you don't get a shack stack (a shackburger with a fried cheese filled portabella mushroom) there is not point of eating a normal plain cheeseburger. It's essentially danny meyer's take on steak n shake not culvers. Never get a plain burger there its just a burger. You must always get the SHACK STACK.

  3. Hi Erin! I just thought I'd chime in and let you know that I don't think the road trip posts are a big deal. Obviously your blog is Indy based and clearly you've done hundreds of Indy reviews, so there isn't any type of shortage there. The road trip posts even came in handy to me recently when I was invited to The Girl and The Goat in Chicago and remembered you'd just reviewed it :) I feel that it's your blog and you can post whatever you'd like, and the road trip posts don't take anything away from the abundance of Indy posts --they just add some bonus content! Love your blog!

  4. I enjoy the road trip posts when they're still centered around the Indiana area or the larger cities in the surrounding states (Chicago, Cincy, Louisville, etc.) We need some ideas for kid-friendly, non-chain restaurants in the Cincy area since it's a great one tank trip!