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.
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.