You will have seen this little number all over the press recently in recognition of its booming sales and impressive IPO which has outperformed the rest of the industry. This modern burger joint started out as a humble food stand in Madison Square Park, New York around 11 years ago and has now expanded to 63 locations around the world, due to popular demand. It’s first day of trading alone valued the company at around $1.6 billion.
So, I thought I’d better get myself in gear and see what the fuss is about.
This burger experience is similar to that of your regular fast food restaurant, you stand in line with your menu which is handed to you at the door and order at the counter. It’s pretty hectic as you can see that behind the counter of the friendly cashiers the kitchen is mayhem. Which doesn’t surprise me as each burger is compiled to perfection, dissimilar to the likes of McDonalds who would probably forget the ‘beef’ patties if they tried hard enough. I ordered a single ShackBurger (Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce), regular fries (other option, cheesy fries) and a Caramel Shake. In true sugar addict fashion I couldn’t not get a Shake, particularly as this wasn’t a regular milkshake, it’s made with frozen custard – and custard is one of my favourite things.
ShakeShack is located in Covent Garden’s covered market on the first floor, which is ideal for them as they’re hitting a tourist hotspot but not so ideal for the customers – well in winter anyway. The layout kind of killed the excitement for me as all the indoor seats were taken so we were left to face the freezing temperatures either inside or outside the covered market. First we tried the outside seating as the electric heaters held some appeal only to find they did as much good as fingerless gloves – sounds like a good idea, do not do their job. So we went for the ones inside the covered market, which blocked the breeze a little.
Back to the food. It was so, so great. The burger itself, perfection, it just melts in your mouth – the patty cooked medium and paired with the softest brioche bun. One thing that really impressed me, is as I mentioned earlier, every burger does look perfect and exactly how they advertise. The crinkly chips were light and crispy – fairly addictive. Then there was the Shake. I want one everyday of my life for the rest of my life but my inner nutritionist tells me no. Frozen custard is the way forward and much less sickly than your regular milkshake packed out with ice cream and chocolate bars and God knows what else.
So yes, I strongly recommend visiting Shake Shack. It is worth the hype. Although, it’s unlikely to replace your other fast food chain favourites as you are paying around double the price for essentially ‘a burger in a bag’ as my friend cynically put. The average meal of a burger, fries and shake is around £13 and the menu does have a good variety, with the option to double up on patties in each one. They also serve wine and beer, which is a change for a takeout setup. I’ve heard good things about their ‘Shroom Burger (Crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce) and I will slowly be working my way through all of their Shakes on offer.