“Cheap Eats” is my post-series on cheap restaurants and prepared food options in New York. I recommend cooking your own food most of the time, but every once in a while it is nice to indulge and you don’t have to pay through the nose to do so. I plan to review many of the cheap options I find on various websites and will let you know if they are as good and as cheap as advertised. If you have a suggestion for a place to review, feel free to let me know through my contact page.
Even though it is a “fast food” burger, you can’t talk about the best burgers in NYC without at least mentioning this small, NYC chain. Proud New Yorkers will turn their noses up at Californians who go on and on about In-and-Out Burger (overrated) in favor of this NYC burger mecca. That’s right. It’s the one, the only, Shake Shack!
Shake Shack – Multiple Locations (check website!)
I’ll be brutally honest. I always thought Shake Shack burgers were fine – tasty, but nothing special. I always got the double and asked for special instructions. I covered them with condiments and at the end of the day, it was just a regular, double-stacked burger. For the purposes of Cheap Eats, though, I decided to get the original ShackBurger and eat it as-is.
I had to admit, it looked better than I remembered. I drank a water alongside it for maximum burger taste retention. Let’s see how it stood up.
THE CHEAP EATS BREAKDOWN
How was the ordering experience? BEWARE THE SHAKE SHACK LINE! As usual with my cheap eats, I got in line BEFORE noon. By the time I had my burger, it was just after 12pm and the line was starting to grow. Luckily, with a little planning ahead (and a hungry stomach), I was able to get my ShackBurger quickly. If you are just getting a shake or ice cream, be sure to hop into the “C-Line” (Cold Line). You will face a much shorter wait.
How unique is the food? It’s a burger. Maybe the least unique food on the planet. But done right, a burger can still definitely stand out.
How delicious was the food? Wow. If you go here, I strongly recommend you go with the straightforward ShackBurger. I finally got it. I finally understood why Shake Shack is so popular. The edges of the burger were just a little crispy and had such good, seasoned flavor. The sauce was better than I remembered and the bun was so soft and good. The single patty burger definitely has the right ratio of meat to toppings to bun.
Did it fill me up for $5 or less? I was full, but I just had the burger. There were no sides involved, so if you are really hungry, this might not do the trick. In terms of cost. A regular ShackBurger is $4.95. But wait – Shake Shack DOES charge tax, so this one was barely over $5 in the end 🙁 – still a pretty decent price for the quality!
Conclusion: Shake Shack is worth it. If you are visiting, you have to try it. If you live here, you have to love it. Just be sure to be smart and avoid the lines during the lunch rush!
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