When I was planning my trip to Philly and New York, one of the places that was consistently recommended to me was Shake Shack. I heard about it from my brother, I heard about it from my friends, I even heard about it from Anthony Bourdain (ok, so that wasn’t a personal recommendation, but still). I was intrigued, I mean I like a quality burger and milkshake as much as the next person, but how good could a fast food place really be?
On the second day of our trip, after wandering around the University of Pennsylvania’s beautiful campus, we were desperately hungry for lunch. I mentioned my curiosity about Shake Shack and lo-and-behold there was one only a couple of blocks away. We took some time to look over the menu wall and then anxiously awaited our lunch while taking advantage of the warmth and free wi-fi. I decided I would try a ShackBurger, topped with tomato, lettuce and ShackSauce, and a Chocolate Shake.
My order was called and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the burger actually looked really good. Let’s be honest, most fast food burgers usually look nothing like the pictures, but this was one pretty looking burger.
Most importantly, though, it tasted really, really good. Shake Shack states that all of their burgers are made from 100% all-natural angus beef, with no hormones or antibiotics. I can’t say whether I can taste antibiotics and hormones in beef or not, but the burger did have a really good meaty, beefy texture that you don’t always find in a fast food burger. I also really enjoyed the fact that Shake Shack cooks their burgers to a lovely medium (unless otherwise specified) while also letting them develop a really nice crispy, caramelized crust from their time on the flat top.
The Chocolate Milk Shake was the perfect companion for the burger. It was sweet, rich, creamy perfection. You would certainly hope that a place called Shake Shack would have kick ass milkshakes and they certainly delivered.
Right now, most Shake Shacks are located all over the Eastern US (with a few international locations) but with their impending IPO it will be interesting to see what new markets they move into. The business nerd in me is also interested to see if shareholder pressure will mean Shake Shack starts compromising some of their values, that currently make their product such high quality, in order to increase profits.
At the end of the day, Shake Shack is fast food, but it is really, really good fast food. And while I may get the occasional ribbing for being a food snob, I like a good burger and shake as much as the next guy. But… you might as well make it a really good burger while you are at it.