Shake it up with Shake Shack!

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Ava L., Junior

Anytime, any season, who doesn’t love a classic burger with a shake and fries? The perfect  greasy fries coated evenly in salt and a thick delicious milkshake to wash it all down is always popular with Northwest School students. Shake Shack is an American fast food chain restaurant originally based in New York City that can now be seen nationwide . The restaurant first began as a small hot dog stand located in Madison Square Park. It was instituted to support the Madison Square Conservancy’s first art installation in 2001. Soon after their first debut, Shake Shack became popular among New Yorkers and ended up staying around for two more years. In 2004, a permanent kiosk was established in the park. From there, the name grew and expanded its reach. The majority of the restaurants are scattered around the East Coast with a few located on the West Coast. Shake Shack states that their goal is to use all organic ingredients, and as their website says, “We pride ourselves on sourcing incredible ingredients from like-minded ranchers, farmers, bakers and food purveyors. Our burgers are made with 100% all-natural Angus beef—vegetarian fed, humanely raised and source verified. The Chick’n Shack™ is 100% all-natural cage-free chicken. Our flat-top dogs? 100% all-natural Vienna beef. Our fries are crinkle cut Yukon potatoes, with zero artificial ingredients. And our vanilla and chocolate frozen custard recipes use only real sugar, no corn syrup and milk from dairy farmers who pledge not to use artificial growth hormones.” Since 2004, the Shack has gained an exceptional reputation in providing their customers with quality food. The 14 years that it’s been in business has only resulted in it gaining more recognition and success. If you ever need a place to eat while you’re in New York, make sure you stop by the Shack to indulge on some quality fast food!

 

Recently, on October 6th, the first Shake Shack in Washington opened up in Seattle. The restaurant is located in downtown South Lake Union, between Westlake Ave. and 8th Ave. In the past couple of months, Seattleites have been going crazy to get a hand on the famous Shack classics. Due to the high demand for trying out the new restaurant, the line to get in is approximately 45 minutes to an hour. People arrive early and eagerly to find out if Shake Shack is really all that it’s said to be. The Shack has even included a special burger dedicated to Seattle called the “Montlake Double Cut,” that uses all local ingredients.

 

In the past I have heard many good remarks on Shake Shack. As a fast food lover, I enjoy going to different fast food restaurants in Seattle and and seeing what each one had to offer. So when I heard about the opening of the Shack in South Lake Union, I decided to go find out what exactly makes it so good and if it lives up to the hype that it is getting. I drove past the Shack on a Sunday afternoon hoping to see how long the line was. I quickly decided to go another day when I saw a huge line snaking out the door. I thought that a weekday would be less popular, so on Monday, I went back to try again. To my surprise it was still packed full and my 7:30 pm arrival turned into a 45 minute wait. Inside, the building is modern, simplistic and very well organized. There is a friendly greeter at the front to keep things moving, welcome you, and assure you that it was worth the wait.  As soon as you get to the front of the line there are touch screen ordering stations to put you order in. Once you have done so, you wait for a total of two messages notifying when your order has been processed, and when your order is ready for pickup. I ended up ordering the: Chick’n Shack (crispy chicken with lettuce, pickles, and buttermilk herb mayo), the famous Shack Stack (cheeseburger and a *‘Shroom burger with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce), cheese fries, strawberry milkshake and the exclusive Seattle-only Coffee & Croissant dessert (vanilla frozen custard, coffee caramel sauce, Sea Wolf croissant brittle and pieces of Theo dark chocolate). The Shack Stack was my personal favorite out of the items that I ordered. The bun was soft and fluffy and the burger itself was seasoned perfectly. If you are a person that enjoys mushrooms I recommend that you try the Shack Stack, I loved the incorporation of the fried portobello mushroom. It gave the burger a nice crunch and the flavor from the mushroom worked well with the rest of it. However, the fries were not my favorite. They had minimal grease, which most people assume is a good thing, but it ended up contributing to the overall dryness of the fry, and no one wants that. I was quite disappointed when I found myself having to find something to wash it down with only on the third fry. Fries should be addicting, salty with perfect crunch, and should be irresistible to pull away from just like Dick’s, hmmm my favorite. Unfortunately, the fries were a huge letdown to the standards of a quality fry, although I will say that  I did find that dipping them in the cheese sauce helped. The Chick’n Shack was also excellent. The chicken breast was tender and crispy while the pickles added to the textural experience. I personally did not find the strawberry milkshake that great. The taste was less of fresh strawberry and more strawberry shortcake, which made the drink itself very heavy. With such a large meal I would have prefered a fresher taste to cleanse my palate. I wanted a milkshake that was more refreshing than dessert-like and heavy.

* The ‘Shroom burger is the only vegetarian option. It is made with: a fried portobello mushroom, muenster and cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce.

If you haven’t stopped by Potbelly’s and tried their vanilla shake, that’s what I’m talking about! Saying that the Seattle-only Coffee & Croissant is an exclusive dessert only available in Seattle, I recommend trying it. The frozen custard was creamy and delicious and with the chunks of Theo chocolate tasted like if Seattle was a dessert. The frozen custard is very rich so if you are planning on getting a large meal, save plenty of room for it in the end!

 

Shake Shack doesn’t disappoint.  Although there were some menu items that I thought could have been better, the overall quality of everything was exceptional. Dick’s is a classic on-the-go meal for most Seattleites. Personally, I would never pass down the opportunity go grab a bit at Dick’s anytime or anywhere. I think that each fast food restaurant in Seattle has their own unique style and certain type of food that they excel in. It is rare to come across a fast food restaurant that is consistent in the quality of everything they produce. The Shack’s food was bursting with new flavors, taking fast food to another level. Watch out, Dicks, Uneeda Burger, Red Mill, Li’l Woody’s, competition just got a whole lot harder.  

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