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I just tried Shake Shack for the first time —and it's super overrated

INSIDER logoINSIDER 6 days ago cappelbaum@businessinsider.com (Ciara Appelbaum)

This was before I tried it. © Ciara Appelbaum This was before I tried it.

The INSIDER Summary:

  • I tried Shake Shack for the first time and wasn't very impressed.
  • The fries are way too salty, the patty is too small, and the bun isn't even cut through all the way.
  • Additionally, the line to order was super long, and the portions were too small for the price.
  • The milkshake is a real winner, though.

Born in raised in Texas, the land of steak, BBQ, and the famed fast-food chain Whataburger, I am pretty serious about meat.

So when I moved to New York, I knew I had to try the infamous Shake Shack, whose burger was named the best burger in New York City.

Unfortunately, my first experience at the chain did not live up to the hype.

Keep scrolling to see why.

The line is massive

Although there are many Shake Shacks around New York City, I opted for the original one in Madison Square Park.

I arrived at 1 p.m., hungry and excited, just to find myself in a massive line. After strategically deciding to come after the noon lunch rush had died down, the line was still going strong.

Upon arriving, it wasn't long before I was ushered into one of two lines — one for beverages and milkshakes, and another for orders including food. The beverage line, of course, was nearly empty, but I figured if a burger had people lining up like this, it had to be good!

WATCH: Shake Shack cookbook: Make their famous burgers at home! [provided by TODAY]

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There's a second line nobody tells you about

After waiting to order for 10 minutes (and that's a short wait for this location!), it was finally my turn. I ordered a classic "ShackBurger" — a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and mysterious "ShackSauce" — along with fries and a vanilla milkshake.

The grand total of my order came to $15.01, which isn't terrible, but definitely more expensive than other fast food joints.

After placing my order, I was not handed my meal as expected, but was instead given a buzzer, and told to stand in the pick-up line. Although I expected to get my order pretty much immediately, like at other fast food chains (it's called fast food for a reason!), this was not the case at Shake Shack.

Instead, I waited in a mob of people crowding the pick-up window for 15 minutes, even longer than it took to order my food in the first place.

The burger was disappointingly small

Not a lot of food for over $15. © Ciara Appelbaum Not a lot of food for over $15.

After closely inspecting my food, my first reaction was disappointment. The burger looked so tiny. And the vanilla shake, which was $5.25, also seemed on the smaller side.

Not only is the bun super tiny, but it also isn't sliced all the way through. That means one bite is completely dominated by bun. Although I wasn't a fan, apparently Shake Shack has a method to the madness, claiming the bun hinge is used to better catch juices from the pattyThe buns are non-GMO, though, which I did appreciate. 

I thought the bun was small, but unfortunately so was the patty. In fact, the tiny bun seemed to  overpower it. While I will admit that I liked the flavor of the patty, I just wished I had more of it. Shake Shack boasts that their patties are 100% all-natural Angus beef with no hormones or antibiotics, which is a nice touch.

The burger also included cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce. The cheese and lettuce tasted pretty standard, and the ShackSauce was pretty obviously just a combo of ketchup, mayo, and mustard. Nothing too special there. The tomatoes, however, were extremely fresh and flavorful.

Overall: 7/10

The fries were too salty

Too salty. © Ciara Appelbaum Too salty.

The fries were a toss up. On the one hand, they were smoking hot and fresh, seeming to have come straight out of the fryer. I mean, who doesn't love fresh fries? On the other hand, they were way too salty for my taste. My hands were absolutely covered in salt after eating them. In the end, I'd rather take Five Guys fries over these fries any day.

Overall: 6/10

The shake was delicious

Ok, this milkshake was a winner. © Ciara Appelbaum Ok, this milkshake was a winner.

What can I say, it's not called Shake Shack for nothing. The chain totally dominates in the milkshake category. My vanilla milkshake tasted like pure ice cream and was super creamy, but not too creamy where I couldn't slurp it through the straw, an issue common with sub-par milkshakes.

Overall: 9/10

The verdict

Disappointing. © Ciara Appelbaum Disappointing.

Overall, I found Shake Shack to be overrated. Although the food was tasty and I love their efforts of serving up better ingredients, the long lines, tiny portions, and hefty prices just aren't worth it.

GALLERY: 25 Iconic Hamburger Spots You Have to Visit [provided by Mental Floss]

25 Iconic Hamburger Spots You Have to Visit 25 Iconic Hamburger Spots You Have to Visit


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