Shake Shack on 44th Street and 8th Avenue is a burger joint whose décor is vaguely reminiscent of the iconic 1950s drugstores and ice cream parlors to where American youths liked to escape for date nights.
On an average Saturday evening, as one passes the restaurant, one may be surprised and puzzled by the half-a-block line of customers waiting to get in to Shake Shack. Even more so, people may be even more shocked by an even greater number squeezed inside. On closer inspection, however, the draw of the place becomes clear.
Personally, I have gone to Shake Shack five (5) times in the past three (3) months and have sampled many offerings on their menu. Below you will find what I have to report!
The thing that sets this particular restaurant apart from many other fast food joints is the quality of the ingredients they use. According to the menu, the hamburgers are made with freshly ground 100% Angus beef without added hormones or antibiotics. Their ice cream and shakes use real sugar and milk from dairy farmers who pledge not to use artificial growth hormones. In addition, no corn syrup is ever used in their food selections.
This particular Shake Shack’s close proximity to Times Square and its many hotels is no doubt one of the many reasons for the overwhelming crowds of tourists that go to eat there. However, the restaurant also attracts a fair number of local diners as well.
Once you’ve danced your leisurely way down the labyrinthine waiting line, you better know what you want because the pace of service at the register accelerates from slow tango to rock-n-roll. Nonetheless, not to worry as the line is always long enough to give you plenty of time to make a decision.
The first time I made my order, I was given a curious gismo, which I was told would begin to flash when my food was ready. My friend and I took the only available seats at the other side of the restaurant and waited hungrily for that promise.. This was a mistake as it turned out. Thirty-five minutes had passed and still nothing had happened.
I finally walked back to the counter to find out what was taking so long. Halfway there, the gismo in my hand began to flash. The clever-looking things have quite a short range and require you to be in close proximity to the counter. My food had been ready and waiting for us for about twenty minutes and was as cold as a long-overdue breakup. However, the servers politely asked if I wanted them to reheat our selections.
The end of that first adventure was a good one as the food was excellent and delicious. The hamburgers were cooked just right and had a good balance of flavor and nor was it too salty or dry. The strawberry shake I ordered was rich and creamy, with that subtle, half-forgotten flavor of childhood sifting into every sip. Each selection had a flavor to make you want to go back again and again.
Written by Ellen Hill
Edited by Janelle C. Simmons