Posted By Stephen Rushmore
7/14/2008 11:44:00 AM
The Shake Shack is an urban one-stop-shop eatery serving popular roadside-stand food from around the country. Established in 2004, “The Shack” has already been elevated to legendary status for its regionally accurate food and incredibly long lines. There is no address for the alfresco establishment, but you probably won’t get lost once you follow the trail of people lining the outskirts of Madison Park for a burger and custard fix. During my early summer visit, I counted approximately one hundred people patiently waiting to place an order.
Residents of St. Louis will recognize the Concretes on the menu, which are custard versions of the frappe or milk shake. I started the meal with a summer heat-relieving Concrete Jungle - vanilla custard blended with Valrhona hot fudge, peanut butter and fresh chunks of banana. The thick and velvety custard is an incredibly satisfying base of cool cream and sugar. While the vanilla is independently gratifying, the high quality chocolate and fresh banana chunks elevate the experience to an epic level.
The Cheeseburger at The Shack will be familiar to those from the Midwest and California. The patties have a lattice edge from being pressed on a grill, then are topped with a thick slice of cheddar cheese, a ripe tomato and lettuce, all between a toasted and buttered potato roll. Once assembled, the burger is placed in a wax paper envelope to contain the juices and condiments.
Regrettably, I did not try the Chicago-styled hotdog called “Shack-cago Dog” during my visit. While foreign to most New York City dwellers, these wieners are made with Vienna beef, a poppy seed bun and the usual condiments of mustard, relish, onion, cucumber, pickle spear, tomato, and celery salt.
New Yorkers will thank The Shack for having another reason not to leave the bustling city to experience great American Roadfood. While the lines can be intimidating to the most patient Roadfoodie, it is certainly much shorter than flying to St. Louis, Chicago, and California in one day to get your roadside-stand fix.