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I Hate The Shake Shack… April 19, 2006

Posted by hateroftheyear in Food, General Hating, New York.

Pardon me, but this is going to be an obnoxiously New York City-centric post.

This morning, after reading this note at Gawker and the linked article on Gothamist, I decided that I would brave the mobs of retarded TimeoutNY reading lemmings and sit down for a Shack Burger and an Arnold Palmer in beautiful Madison Square Park. It should be noted prior to reading the following account of my lunch that I am no stranger to the Shake Shack. I was eating there back when it was just a cart in the days prior to the construction of the kitschy “shack.” Therefore, on a day as gorgeous as today, I know better than to get there at 12:30 expecting anything less than an epic wait. That said…

11:30am – No lack of ambition, I arrived at Madison Square Park and slurped down the last few drops of the iced coffee that I had purchased with my breakfast a few hours earlier. The line was long, certainly, but by Shake Shack standards it was extremely manageable. I noted the time and my place in line: the birch tree just past the statue of Roscoe Conkling.

11:45am – I have moved approximately 12′ to the large sandwich board that lists the Shake Shack FAQs. I read the FAQs thoroughly and feel comfortable in my general understanding of Shack sauce, frozen custard, and what exactly separates a Chicago dog from a NYC Taxi dog. Unfortunately, there is some sort of hiccup in the movement of the line, and I am at this exact point for about 10 minutes during which time I begin to wonder whether FAQs means “Frequently Asked Questions” or that there are multiple FAQ(s). I decide that it is an error and should in fact read “Shake Shack FAQ.”

12:00pm – I have moved past the FAQ[s] and forward to the barrier that corrals you up to the cashier. This is the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” I look back on the line, which has now tripled in length, and smile coolly at the people just arriving.

12:10pm – It’s been ten minutes and I haven’t moved an inch. The woman just in front of me turns back and gives me a very concerned glance. What’s wrong?! We’re so close!! I smile nervously and nod to let her know everything’s going to be okay. Just a few more feet.

12:20pm – Fifty minutes in and I placed my order: one shack burger, one taxi dog and an Arnold Palmer. $9.25. From there, I’m expecting another ten minutes AT LEAST until I’m eating. I find a nice table and just as I’m hanging my jacket on the chair, I hear my name called! Amazingly, my food is ready!

12:22pm – I take the first bite of my Shack Burger, and it’s delicious. The burger is has an excellent crust, but very moist inside. The tomatoes are ripe, the cheese is perfectly tangy and the bun doughy and soft. An excellent burger.

Start to finish, this has been roughly an hour and ten minute affair, not counting commute, and at what I consider to be a sub-prime dining time for lunch. After reading about their brilliant idea to install a webcam, all i can say is this: If any of you reading this check the webcam and see people just behind the magic birch next to ol’ Roscoe, you’re in for at least an hour-long wait.

Is it worth it? A 30 minute wait or less, definitely. 45 minutes is pushing it and at an hour I’d have to say no. Anything more than that is fucking ludicrous.



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