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Shake Shack

Remember Marilyn Hagerty, the Olive Garden reviewer from Grand Forks, North Dakota? The piece went viral, as foodies lampooned her fawining praise for such a mediocre restaurant.

The newspaper then sent her to New York to review—yes, Olive Garden again—and also Dovetail, Crown, Le Bernardin, and even a lowly hot dog stand.

Anyhow, she also visited Shake Shack. Turns out she’s not the country bumpkin that the original review suggests. Her capsule critique: “the meat was slightly better than Burger King.” (I mean, if you were the critic in Grand Forks, what would you review.)

Shake Shack, the lowliest of Danny Meyer’s restaurants, now has 15 locations in five U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the Middle East. It is indeed slightly better than Burger King.

At most reasonable mealtimes, expect to wait about 15–20 minutes, and it could very easily be a whole lot more, depending on the location — I visited the Times Square branch, at the corner of 44th Street and Eighth Avenue, at around 6:40pm on a Monday evening.

I’d heard the fries are poor, so I ordered just a cheeseburger and a vanilla milkshake.

The burger is cooked to order. Both the patty and the bun are thicker, fresher, and heartier than most fast food. But both are too greasy—or were on this occasion.

The shake is rather small by fast food standards, and not thick enough. It’s rather odd that the shake ($5) is more expensive than the cheesburger ($4.05).

This is a Danny Meyer joint, so the service is pretty good, bearing in mind that it’s fast food. If you think of Shake Shack as a slightly better Burger King, perhaps it’s worth the wait if you must have a burger.

When the line snakes around the block, I’m not convinced it’s worth it.

Shake Shack (300 W. 44th St. at Eighth Avenue, Times Square)

Food: burgers, fries, shakes, and such; even wine
Service: Danny Meyer does fast food
Ambiance: Danny Meyer does fast food

Rating: ★
Why? It’s fine if you must have a fast-food burger and the line isn’t too long

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