Shake Shack – Philadelphia, PA
Burgers, burgers, burgers everywhere in Philly these days. Directly across the street from Shake Shack is Iron Chef Jose Garces’s famed Village Whiskey, 500 Degrees a burger joint a few blocks away on Sansom Street, another Iron Chef Bobby Flay’s endeavour Bobby’s Burger Palace in University City, and the better than fast food Five Guys Burgers on Chestnut Street.
As much as Philadelphians hate most things related to New York, NYC just has some things that we simply can’t compete with. For example the Yankees have more championships than I will ever see the Phillies accumulate in three of my lifetimes. As much as people like to say Philadelphia is the birthplace of freedom with relics like the Liberty Bell, you really can’t compete with a large majority of this nation’s history marking the sight of the Statue of Liberty and arriving on Ellis Island as their first glimpse of America. Finally, as much as I love Rittenhouse Square as much as the next person, do I really have a fighting chance putting it up next to Times Square and Broadway, I think not.
With that being said, will a New York burger joint have what it takes to win us over to the ways of New York and does Philly have room for all these burger places? Yes and no.
Yes, I think Philly has room for another burger place as each one is different, and I do not think any single one of them is the be-all end-all one stop shop to get exactly what anything you would want at any moment. No, Shake Shack was good, but sure as hell isn’t going to convert Philly’s finest to lust for things related to New York.
Shake Shack’s bread and butter is their burgers and while the Smoke Stack Burger was delicious, it was not earth shattering. The good points are that with the Shake Shack special sauce provided a nice balance of sweet, spicy, and tangy, but was lathered on a little too thick and sogged the roll too much. The cherry peppers is a nice touch, but once again a heaping pile created a mess and distraction to the meal instead of an enhancement. The bacon, could not have been more perfect though. Exact crispness, taste, and size. The burger size was slightly small for my taste. If I had my way, I would increase burger size slightly, only put a touch of special sauce and cherry peppers or just give me the burger with the add-ons on the side for me to correctly portion it and prevent a soggy mess.
The crinkle cut fries were cooked to perfection with the cheese sauce simply phenomenal. As opposed to the caramel apple custard which was just slightly above average in taste, but not average in price for an infant sized serving of custard.
All in all, Shake Shack is a welcome addition to the Philadelphia burger scene. You have heard it from here though, that by no means is it the messiah that you would think it is on that hipster website, oh I want to be cool and relevent and have my friends think I am important so I post snarky reviews on Yelp makes Shake Shack out to be. The prices are slighty high, but then again you are only a block away from Rittenhouse Square where you will pay ten times more for a quick-lunch then you would here, and still not be full or satisfied eating at those other establishments. For me, Shake Shack fits like a glove for the common burger lover in this location, but may not be so great at a different one.
Will I go back? Yes