Shake Shack is kind of like the Trader Joe’s of the current generation of fast casual burger chains. You’ve heard lots of praise from friends who are part of their fan base. The restaurant is a chain, but it doesn’t oversaturate your city with locations. You must go out of your way to patronize their restaurants. I finally tried them last year and wasn’t disappointed. Their burgers are tasty, fresh and still affordable.
On a recent visit to a Shake Shack location, the food critics from my Youth Dining Companion Crew joined me. Small Child #1 was interested in sharing their opinions on their first visit to the famous Shack Shack. They tried the Bacon Smokeshack Burger and a side order of Cheese Fries. “Pretty good” is their take on the burger. They would “probably” dine at Shake Shack again. The Smokeshack Burger is a single or double cheeseburger, with applewood smoked bacon, cherry peppers, and the house sauce.
On my two visits, I had the ‘Shroom Burger, which features a “crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce.
While this is a very tasty vegetarian burger, I’m not a big fan of the gooey cheese that overwhelms the sandwich. I’m not against gooey cheese in food, but I’ve found that portobello mushroom burgers are better when they highlight the mushroom, the bun and other ingredients. The late, great Swagger, on Wornall Road, featured one of my favorite mushroom-based burgers ever (the Portabella Bachi). Their burger/sandwich featured a large mushroom, but also the sandwich was stuffed with their delicious wasabi slaw (from an old menu: tempura battered portabella mushroom, pepper jack cheese, Asian mustard, sriracha chili sauce, wasabi coleslaw).
While Shake Shack has somewhat of a fast food vibe to it, it’s also fronting as offering an upscale burger experience. I’d really like to see them amp up their mushroom burger, which wouldn’t be that difficult for them to do. This would be a home run and be much better than something that squirts gooey cheese at me when I bite into it.
The counter service at Shake Shack is friendly end helpful, but you really don’t interact with them much (more on that shortly). I like the fact that the restaurant has a staff person roaming the restaurant, answering questions and helping people with issues. On our visit, I asked the guy to explain the difference between two of the burgers the kids’ orders (similar looking food should be labeled clearly) and he helped fix the situation between the kids by bringing out a side of bacon.
On my lunch visit, the Shake Shack was busy, and seating was easy to find. On our dinner visit, the restaurant was packed, and seating was scarce. During the rush we experienced, quite a few people were hovering around, waiting for seating.
Shake Shack also uses a touch screen ordering system, which I do not like. This tech has become more popular in fast food restaurants, mostly to cater to younger customers, but I find the practice to be a scary disease vector. If I’m choosing between similar restaurants, I’ll pass on one with a touch screen ordering system. The ordering system is well designed and easy to navigate. Shake Shack has enough stations for ordering even during a rush.
Overall, the food at Shake Shack is delicious and the experience is pleasing. I can understand why the chain has many fans.
5200 W 119th St, Leawood, KS 66211, 913-320-1229
239 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO 64112, 816-708-4030