What do I know about Shake Shack? I know that I went there for the first time in the summer of 2014. I was in upstate New York for my five year college reunion and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sneak on over to the city that never sleeps. It was there, beneath the small, twinkling lights strung up in Madison Square Park, that I reunited with my college roommates at the original Shake Shack. Was I enjoying a classic meal of burgers, fries, and shakes or was I staring in a romantic comedy? One could not tell.
Let’s arrive at present day, April of 2016, where the founding members of the SDSC have just met “The In-N-Out of the East” for the first time on our turf. Shake Shack’s premiere California location happens to be in West Hollywood on the busy, goliath street known as Santa Monica Boulevard.
Well aware that the burger joint had just recently opened its doors in March, we came mentally prepared to face a serpentine-like line and outdoor seating battlefield. Perhaps it’s because we dodged the high noon lunch crowd or because Los Angelenos have already moved on to the next buzz-worthy restaurant opening, but we found the place to be pretty calm when upon arriving for our 1:30 p.m. lunch date.
The menu is much more extensive than you would see at an In-N-Out, so I highly recommend taking a look online before the sights and smells cloud your judgement. Aside from the selection of burgers and dogs, there’s also a wide range of tempting desserts…the Rainbow Connection Concrete is unique to this location, made with local Cofax donuts and jam from the venerable Sqirl. Oh, and be prepared to be spoken to in Shake Shack dialect…when the cashier repeated our order, all I could do was blindly nod and hope that what arrived at our table was what we wanted (spoiler alert: it did).
What were my fellow founders’ overall reactions?
LILLY: Cleaner and nicer than I would have ever expect for a burger joint…and that milkshake…damn.
MICHELLE: Loved the Shroom Burger and the crinkle fries had just the right crunch! Also thought that the space was much larger and modern than I anticipated for a casual lunch spot.
What we ordered/scarfed down:
Chick’n Shack—crispy chicken breast with lettuce, pickles, buttermilk herb mayo.
Shack Stack—cheeseburger and a ‘Shroom Burger’ with lettuce, tomato, ShackSauce.
[Flat-Top] Hot Dog—served on a potato bun.
Crinkle Cut Fries—yukon potatoes.
Black & White Shake—a combination of chocolate and vanilla, handspun.