Day Four: Shake Shack!
Shake Shack is located in Madison Square Park and serves burgers, dogs, shakes, and beers. The restaurant was conceived and developed by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. I know what you may be thinking. No, it’s not pizza nor is it Italian. The relevance of our visit comes on the eve of the launch of our 7 day a week (!) take out business.
Shake Shack is a simple concept. Burgers, fries, dogs and shakes. No frills. No big whoop, right? Yet people wait in line a minimum of 30 minutes, more commonly and hour, for what on paper sounds like run-of-the-mill fare. Oh, but don’t underestimate this place. Shake Shack is the perfect example of how doing something right, no matter how simple, is all you need to create fervent loyalty.
The line wraps through the park, but no one seems antsy. It’s the opposite of the DMV or a 6pm line at Whole Foods where you’re guaranteed to get yelled at by the multitasking, low blood sugar businessman behind you for taking 13 items in a 10 items or less line (true story). The spirit of the line, quite the opposite, was like that of an amusement park. You’re amped and giddy knowing that the result of waiting in line is pure joy. People were chatting and laughing under the shade of the trees, and most of the conversations I overheard were about the food. Wow.
I talked to a friend who lives in Brooklyn about our itinerary, as soon as I uttered the two little words, he flipped out and insisted that I order the Shack Stack. I eat a burger about once every three months, never at the same place, because one of my life’s missions is to find the perfect burger. The best part about this search it that the perfect burger needs the perfect moment. You have to be ready to receive the communion of The Perfect Burger. And oh, there is not just one perfect burger, there are so many out there ready to be discovered. And I know Texas’ unofficial state food is beef, but some of the best burgers I’ve had are in NYC. Freemans made my favorite burger of 2008. The Shack Stack, so far, is the front runner for 2009. I quite literally took a bite and felt compelled to flip off the entire world because the only thing that mattered in existence in that moment was that burger. I sh*t you not. That’s a perfect burger.
The Shack Stack is a beef patty that is a Shake Shack proprietary blend of beef hand formed daily by their butcher. You get the fixings you want, and on top of the beef patty is a fried portabello mushroom stuffed with cheddar and Muenster cheeses, all tucked into a perfectly griddled potato bun.
We sampled many things from the menu. The crinkle cut fries, shakes of all flavors, beer(including a beer created with Brooklyn Brewery’s Garret Oliver), concretes and frozen custards. Everything was absolutely wonderful and perfectly paired with all the other flavors. It was pure enjoyment injected with warm and fuzzies of childhood summer vacation outings to roadside burger joints.
There is something about the anticipation and delayed satisfaction that truly enhances the experience at the Shake Shack. If i could just walk up and get my fast food fast here, it wouldn’t be quite as exciting and rewarding of an experience. Dare I say? I dare! Better things come to those who wait.