Shake Shack

May 28, 2007
Cuisine: Burgers, Hot Dogs

Madison Square Park, New York 10010
At 23rd St & Madison Ave

Phone: 212-889-6600

Single Cheeseburger ($4)

French Fries ($2.50)

Hopscotch Concrete – Hot Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Toffee and Valrhona Chocolate Chunks ($6.25)

While interning at YM Magazine during the summer of 2002, I lunched everyday on the benches in Madison Square Park. Since I was paid in nail polish and future recommendations, I usually packed an uneventful PB&J sandwich or bought a hot dog from the vendor located on the park’s edge. Returning to the park five years later, I barely recognized the place.

Ever since Shake Shack sprouted up during the summer of 2004, Madison Square Park has become quite the dining destination. Long gone are the days of urban serenity and in its place are winding lines of hungry diners seeking quality fastfood—the hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, and custard served up at Shake Shack are only made using high-quality ingredients and no trans fats.

After waiting 45 minutes in line to place our order and an additional 10 minutes for our food to be made, we finally sat down to eat. People often complain about the lengthy line at Shake Shack, but the lively ambiance in the park more than makes up for it. My advice is to not arrive too hungry.

I was in the mood for something cool and sweet after the Luger Burger and ordered a Hopscotch Concrete made with Hot Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Toffee and Valrhona Chocolate Chunk. I had never heard of a concrete before ordering one at Shake Shack, but The Astronomer, a St. Louis native, was quite knowledgeable. He informed me that a well-made concrete can be turned upside down without any deliciousness falling out a la Ted Drewes.

Good thing I was dining with a concrete expert because the concrete I received was unacceptably melted. I brought the concrete up to the pick-up window and asked for a new one. A woman in the shack informed me that the concrete was liquid rather than solid due to the hot caramel sauce, so then I requested for my concrete to to be made with caramel on the side. The second concrete I received was a vast improvement, but still wouldn’t pass the upside down cup test. I guess I’ll just have to return to St. Louis for the real deal. Texture aside, the concrete was pretty darn wonderful. The vanilla custard was creamy, the chocolate toffee was crunchy and sweet, and the chocolate chunks were dark and luxurious. I was on a sugar high for a good long while after I polished off the concrete.

The Astronomer ordered a single cheeseburger with a side of fries. The burger was quite good and on par with the ones from In-N-Out. Following the Luger Burger, Shake Shack’s paled in comparison. We admit that it’s unfair to compare a fastfood-type hamburger with a gourmet one, but the Luger Burger was fresh in our minds and on our taste buds. The fries were decent, but The Astronomer prefers his with seasonings. Unless the line at Shake Shack was dramatically shorter, The Astronomer wouldn’t return for the hamburger or fries. However, I would return for the semi-frozen treats.


13 Responses to “Shake Shack”

  1. 1 Jon June 8, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    I’m not sure, but I think my favorite FN star, The Fat Detective, went there on his show. I love the park.

  2. 2 Erin June 9, 2007 at 3:18 am

    The concrete sounds the classic Blizzard from Dairy Queen. The (urban legend) rule used to be that the server behind the counter would tip the Blizzrd over as they handed it to you to prove that it was frozen and thick and if any toppings fell out or soft serve dripped out the Blizzard would be free. In all the Blizzards that were tipped as they were handed to me (let’s not say how many) I never saw one drip or spill. A couple months ago I was on a roadtrip to Charleston and the girl behind the counter didn’t tip my Blizzard as she handed it to me and my friend was shocked I took it. I guess LA has dulled my Southern standards.

  3. 3 J June 11, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Seriously… this place is tremendously overrated. The burgers are good, but not wait-in-line-for-an-hour good. Personally I think In-N-Out burger is better. Too bad it’s a West Coast only thing…

  4. 4 amy June 12, 2007 at 7:46 am

    the best time to go the the shake shack is about 4pm on a weekday. The wait is only about 15 minutes and the shack burger is so good– the combos of meat are just decadant. Of course, I’ve never had a Luger Burger nor an in-n-out burger, so it’s quite possible my standards are very low.

    • 5 r June 6, 2009 at 7:36 am

      I think you mean your standards are very high (in and out are extremely low quality burgers compared to shake shack.)

  5. 6 MJ June 16, 2007 at 7:54 am

    The shake shack is a great place to go at night while strolling the streets of new york with a friend and you suddenly get a taste for a good burger. What is nice about going in the evening is that the line is drastically shorter and much more manageable and there are plenty of seats. The burgers are great and the fries aren’t bad for being crinkly fries (my least favorite type) and the vanilla milkshakes are wonderful. That being said i probably would not wait in line for an hour to get their food but the 10 minute line in the evening is more my cup of tea.

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    I can confidently say that your second concrete had a big loogie added to it.

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