by Anura Guruge
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There are NO, alas and alack, ‘Shake Shacks‘ in poor ‘you guys spend all your money on heating’ New Hampshire. The nearest ‘Shake Shack’ is in Massachusetts, Harvard Square. I had never been to a ‘Shake Shack’ and really wanted to try them out since I had heard so often, albeit in the financial media, that they had the BEST burgers in the known universe. Plus, based on the hype prior to their IPO last year, I did buy some SHAK over the Summer.
On our way to Philadelphia last May, to pick up our Jaguar XJ8, we did partake in a great lunch at the Times Square “White Castle“. We all agreed that their sliders were as good, if not better, than what folks had raved about. Now we needed to check out ‘Shake Shack’.
Even prior to arriving in New York City, on Monday, December 28, 2015, I had already announced, having checked the locations online, that we would be having dinner at the SHAK our first night in NYC. Well that proved NOT to be the case. Oh, YES, we did walk down to the one in the Theater District, 8th Avenue & 44th Street, from the Novotel Times Square hotel (7th & 51st) where we were staying, around 7:30pm in the cold drizzle that had just started.
We could NOT believe it. It was MOBBED. The line was out of the door and halfway up the block — and there was a fair amount of cold, near freezing precipitation (i.e., freezing rain). The inside was packed. So we gave it a miss that night.
The next day, Tuesday, we went to the 2pm matinee of the “Phantom of the Opera“. SHAK is just around the corner from the Majestic. So at 5pm we walked across. There was still a line and it was PACKED inside. But I insisted. They are slick. As a SHAREHOLDER I was thrilled. They hand out menus while you are still in line so that you can formulate your order before you get to the counter. That helps.
I had the “Shake Stack” and a glass of their house red wine. Deanna and the kids had shakes, burgers and fries. The ‘Stack’, a cheeseburger with a cheese-stuffed portobello mushroom, was delectable. The wine wasn’t bad. The girls liked the shakes. It was PACKED, elbow-to-elbow. But as a SHAREHOLDER I was delighted.
SHAK will go far. I am LONG. I am holding onto that puppy.
In Philadelphia, New Year’s Eve, because it was handy, we ended up going to a ‘BurgerFi‘ — kind of opposite ‘Reading Market‘. They are, of course, in direct competition with SHAK with a similar menu. The Philly location was not packed — BUT Philly was remarkably empty given the crush in NY. The food was good. I was impressed. They did not have any wine or beer. I still liked SHAK better — but I am biased.
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by Anura Guruge