Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First Ever Shake Shack

I think it's been a couple of years since I first heard about Shake Shack, which I believe transpired during the days when The Girl Who Ate Everything  posted more frequently (yup, seems very likely). But on none of my NYC visits did I quite make it into Manhattan to give the burgers a try. I was curious, but I was also happy to hang out in Brooklyn and eat other things. So when Shake Shack opened a location in Philadelphia, I was happy about it and knew that I wanted to give the establishment a try. Unfortunately I've been a little strapped for cash lately. My finances and the purportedly long lines for a burger kept me away. I figured I'd let the hullabaloo die down and then try it out, which is pretty much what I did, finances be damned! So last Sunday I walked into Center City fully expecting an hour wait. Instead I had about a 5 minute wait in line and then perhaps another 10 for the food to come out. The place bustled, but it wasn't bat-shit crazy. I was even able to sit outside on quite a beautiful and sunny day in order to get my first taste of the well hyped burger. I ordered the SmokeShack, attracted especially to its chopped cherry peppers. And, hey, who doesn't love bacon? Lots of people, actually, but that's not the point I was trying to make. I also ordered a side of fries and a Arnold Palmer (which they simply referred to as a half n half).
So what did I think? Pretty good. My burger was a little sloppy in its construction, and the bun a little soggy. Now the sogginess was of a better standard than, say, McDonalds or Burger King, but I like my bun to at least have a moment or two of being relatively intact before going to the squish side. Good, but not quite the life changing experience of, say, a Village Whiskey burger. But they're not really trying to be the same thing. Shake Shack, as I understand it, is focused on being a high quality fast food burger, made with better produced ingredients than the average chain. And that they certainly have down. But as far as extra love and care? Or doing some sort of voo doo magic to the meat that makes you want to close your eyes, grab a table and just become one with the burger? Well that's still VW's territory, and it comes with a heftier price tag. It's good, too, that they serve slightly different purposes and markets, considering the fact that Shake Shack is located directly across the street from Village Whiskey. I didn't try a 'concrete' (ie: shake), but I also found it curious that they decided to open up a burger and shake joint across from the aforementioned VW and Capogiro, which specializes in gelato. It seems calculated. Like they could siphon off the people who get tired of waiting for either establishment. Makes sense, but is still a little weird.
The fries were nice and crispy with a lovely creamy center. I forgot to get ketchup, but enjoyed them regardless.
I had planned on going to Shake Shack and then meeting up with a few of my new dart team members (I am now the captain of my own team, of course I am). But due to the lack of line, I had far more time to kill than I expected, so I walked to Rittenhouse Park, sat on a bench, and read Tolstoy. Because I'm classy.

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