You might recall that open letter I posted to Shake Shack a while back, pretty-pleasing them to come out west with us? I’m pleased to say that Danny Meyer’s wonderful little hot-dog-cart-turned-burger-joint has finally opened its doors west of the Mississippi—at, fittingly, New York, New York on the Las Vegas Strip. And now that they’ve gone public on the Stock Exchange, I have high hopes that they’ll be in California before too long.
I was in Vegas recently (more on that soon), so of course I made sure to be dropped off at Shake Shack—just beyond the Brooklyn Bridge, but before the Eiffel Tower—immediately.
The space has a Vegas shine (rhinestone-bedazzled shack burger and roulette-table lights) but also plenty of ties to home (the tables are made in Brooklyn from reclaimed bowling alleys). Eventually it will sit beside a “park,” meant to capture the spirit of the original Madison Square Garden location. Having introduced myself as a complete fangirl, I got a little tour of the menu; in typical Danny Meyer fashion, it does its best to feel local.
For example, they’ve added two special concretes to the menu. My favorite was the All Shook Up (I’ve always been an Elvis girl), with vanilla frozen custard, chocolate toffee, and banana peanut butter cheesecake from a local bakery; but Hudson would have flipped for this bright Jackpot, where the vanilla custard is mixed with Belgian waffles, strawberry purée, marshmallow sauce, and rainbow sprinkles.
If you’re unfamiliar, the classic shack burger, goes like this: toasted potato roll, quality meat with the right fat ratio (sourced from Pat LaFrieda) to be smashed and slightly caramelized before being scraped off a well-seasoned griddle, American cheese, juicy tomatoes and crisp lettuce, and a bit of delicious ShackSauce. (As nicely demonstrated by the Burger Lab.) They suggested I try the SmokeShack as well—which adds bacon and chopped cherry pepper into the mix.
I hadn’t been since the fresh-cut/crinkle-cut fry debate of 2013, but as the crinkle cuts were restored to the menu in the fall of 2014, I ordered them the way I like them best: cheese sauce on the side.
I admit I debated trying to fly some home to Aron—I’m hoping he gets to have some soon, too. Next stop, California?
P.S. I remember riding our bikes through Times Square and stopping in MSP for cheese fries and concretes, our first summer in New York.
[They were kind enough to buy me lunch, but my well-documented love for Shake Shack is entirely my own.]