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Shake Shack


Fat Guy
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Blue Smoke's burger is not related at all to the Shake Shack burger to my mind. they're just so utterly and completely different.

i agree that a large part of the Shake Shack appeal is related to being outside, and, perhaps some sort of emotional response to spring.

good burgers are found all over the city. they come in many shapes and sizes. the Shake Shack happens to serve a sort of "fast food" style of burger (as opposed to steakhouse burgers, sliders, pub burgers, etc). Very similar burgers can be found at Burger Joint and Good Burger, for example.

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For those of you not from this area, here's what the view directly behind Shake Shack looks like:

gallery_2_0_22532.jpg

Note that this is during the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (2005), where there's about 1000x the amount of people in the park than normal. But its about the same time of year as now (June), so you can see now nice it looks. On that day, however, it was over 100 degrees.

Which makes eating one of these outside even more appealing when the weather is nice and temperate, like now:

gallery_2_0_82074.jpg

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Man, Jason - that's a great picture. Especially how you can practically SEE the humidity rising off of the pavement. I'm SO not looking forward to summer weather. :laugh:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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If I had to surmise, I think the digestive problems that some may have relate to being these almost certainly Wisconsin-style butter burgers...the crust on the burgers is indicative...

There's no butter involved in the burgers. Just a little on the buns.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Man, Jason - that's a great picture.  Especially how you can practically SEE the humidity rising off of the pavement.  I'm SO not looking forward to summer weather. :laugh:

It was actually so hot and humid and disgusting that day, that the adhesive attaching the synthetic rubber grip to my camera actually liquified, and caused it to slide right off.

Danny Meyer has asked us to "pray" for nice weather on June 10 and 11th.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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It was actually so hot and humid and disgusting that day, that the adhesive attaching the synthetic rubber grip to my camera actually liquified, and caused it to slide right off.

Danny Meyer has asked us to "pray" for nice weather on June 10 and 11th.

Oh...I remember that weekend well. We got there too late Saturday to get any food, and by the time we got there on Sunday, the lines were too friggin' long that I really did not want to stand there for over an hour waiting for 'cue, no matter how good.

I'll do a nice weather dance for Mr. Meyer's sake.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

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Hey at least they didn't setup the line real time webcam yet.
OK they're not THAT good! Maybe expectations are low because it's coming from a shack in a park. They're great but this is really getting out of hand.

You speaketh too soon

http://www.gothamist.com/archives/2006/04/...aking_shake.php

Thanks for your interest in the Shake Shack. I work for Union Square Hospitality Group and just noticed your blurb suggesting a web cam. I wanted to give you the heads up that we have purchased a web cam for our website, www.shakeshacknyc.com, and we expect this to be live on our site by Monday. It will display a new still shot of the line every 15 seconds. Let me know if you have any questions.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Man, I hate to say it, but I"m losing patience with the Shake Shack.

I was there yesterday late afternoon. It wasn't peak hours and it was raining. I fully expected it to be one of those rare occasions when you can walk up with no line. No luck, the line was relatively short but more than I expected considering the aforementioned variables. The line went down to the edge of the gravel area.

I soon found out why the line was so long. I waited for between five and ten minutes and the line simply didn't move at all. People were not walking away from the ordering area, people weren't moving forward. The line was at a dead stop.

I can understand that the food is made to order and I'm willing to wait for a fresh made, delicious burger. But there's no reason why the order part of the process should be the bottleneck. The line has been moving a lot more slowly so far this spring than it was last year. I don't know if the credit cards are confusing them or what, but something's got to change.

I don't mind waiting because a lot of other people got a hankerin' for a burger before I did. I DO mind waiting because someone can't take an order and exchange money.

I walked away as I have roughly 50% of the time, hungry, empty handed, and annoyed.

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  • 2 months later...

interesting tidbit of news from eater today:

http://eater.curbed.com/archives/buzz/buzz_institution/

shake shack scores 140 on its health dept. inspection, a huge failure.

having once worked in a horrifying, disgustingly filthy kitchen that PASSED its inspection (i'm talking cockroaches, brown liquid dripping from exposed pipes onto our work surface, unidentifiable crust everywhere, etc...) , i shudder to think of what the hell is going on at SS.

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Maybe that explains this:

I then took the subway home, maybe a half hour to forty-minute ride.  There were no, um, problems to upset me during that journey.

Maybe I'm overly suggestible, but this quietude did not last through the night.

I was going to post event-by-even updates in real time, but decided to spare you all.

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This should be of particular interest to those who like their burgers medium rare.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Yes it is serious, but the Shake Shack's previous scores have been relatively good. Sometimes I wonder if the inspector is having a bad day or if someone at the Shake Shack pissed off the inspector. Or if the Shake Shack, itself, was in the weeds on that particular day. Or, it could be, as people seem to assume, that standards seriously slipped.

One of the violations struck me as ridiculous.

Tobacco use, eating, drinking in food preparation, food storage or dishwashing area observed.

Not the tobacco use or eating part. But drinking? It has been a while since I've done time behind a grill or a range - but no drinking, not even water? Seems a bit unreasonable.

Beyond that, based on what I know of Danny Meyers, from the day after that inspection, if not sooner, I would have no problem ordering a burger medium rare, or anything else.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Yes it is serious, but the Shake Shack's previous scores have been relatively good.  Sometimes I wonder if the inspector is having a bad day or if someone at the Shake Shack pissed off the inspector.  Or if the Shake Shack, itself, was in the weeds on that particular day.  Or, it could be, as people seem to assume, that standards seriously slipped.

One of the violations struck me as ridiculous.

Tobacco use, eating, drinking in food preparation, food storage or dishwashing area observed.

Not the tobacco use or eating part. But drinking? It has been a while since I've done time behind a grill or a range - but no drinking, not even water? Seems a bit unreasonable.

Beyond that, based on what I know of Danny Meyers, from the day after that inspection, if not sooner, I would have no problem ordering a burger medium rare, or anything else.

yeah, i self-deleted (and then it was really deleted... :hmmm: ) a post earlier which sort of ranted about the health department and their new rules and regulations. i understand that they're here to help us, but they've gotten a little overzealous. there's another regulation that's relatively new that gives points if your cutting board has too many nicks on the surface...it's a cutting board people!!!

so, yes, i'd still eat there...not because i'm one of thousands of sheep nor because i'm a blind follower, but because i've eaten there and enjoyed the burgers and concretes. i've watched them prepare the food and it looks no worse than a kebab kart on 6th ave. no biggie.

the whole thing about not having a bathroom nearby is an interesting one as well...i wonder how many points that's worth. you're not required to have a bathroom unless your establishment seats more than 19 people. how do they distinguish that when it is an outdoor only venue?! aren't there restrooms in the park itself?

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I guess all this means the lines will be marginally shorter.  I'm going to be brutally honest and say stuff like this doesn't really bother me.  I'd still eat there.

Ditto. I'll be there tomorrow.

If I can survive the hole-in-the-wall chinese take-outs in my neighborhood, I think I can survive Danny Meyer's worst nightmare.

Besides, after seeing what havoc the health dept's draconian rules have wreaked on several restaurants recently, I don't exactly put much stock in their system.

Nothing to see here.

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fwiw, i still like SS burgers but the place lost all credibility with me when they put green peppers on a Chicago Style Hot Dog. nonono! there are precisely ten ingredients in a CSHD...built in this order

steamed poppy seed bun

vienna beef frank (steamed or grilled (aka char dog))

mustard

relish

tomatoes

kraut

onion

pickle slice

sport peppers

celery salt

*edited to add onion per john's response below

Edited by freshherbs (log)
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There doesn't actually seem to be anything in the inspection result that equates to unsanitary conditions. Several of the violations seem unavoidable given the nature of a park kiosk food concession. I mean, you look at something like "Toilet facility not provided for employees or for patrons when required," and you have to wonder how this applies to a place like Shake Shack. There are hundreds of street vendors all over New York City, and not a single one of them has a bathroom. You don't have bathrooms in this sort of operation. The Union Square Hospitality Group has two restaurants right beside the Shake Shack, where employees can go to use a bathroom.

Danny Meyer sent out the following letter today. I tend to think his summary, "The major violations for which we were cited were either structural or operational. None found conditions of vermin, mucus, urine or feces," gets to the heart of the matter.

August 15, 2006

As you may have heard, Shake Shack performed poorly when it was inspected by the Health Department on July 25, 2006.  There is no excuse for these results, and we have already addressed every point aggressively with the goal of getting an “A” on our re-inspection. The facts are not nearly as bleak as what you may have read or heard.

Operating a small, stand-alone establishment in a park is both a privilege and a challenge; we work hard every day to provide the cleanest possible environment for our guests, as well as the safest and most comfortable workplace for our employees. The major violations for which we were cited were either structural or operational. None found conditions of vermin, mucus, urine or feces. 

To give you a better understanding of the situation, I am including an attachment of the actual violations cited by the Health Department accompanied by our action steps for each one.  As you can see, we have already made several changes and improvements. As an additional measure, we have hired an outside consultant to do twice-weekly inspections and to provide us with reports so we can remain proactive in our goal to operate the cleanest, most organized and well maintained operation possible for the thousands of enthusiastic guests who line up to enjoy the Shack every day.

In our quest to continually improve, I welcome your thoughts and ideas.

Sincerely,

Danny Meyer

This is the attachment, reformatted not particularly well by me:

Health Inspection; 07/25/06 Actions Taken

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh

(1) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material

used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained.

(1) All non-food contact surface locations are maintained by daily cleaning schedules. As an additional

measure we have hired an outside consultant to inspect our facility twice weekly to ensure all contact

surfaces are properly maintained.

(2) Accurate thermometer not provided in refrigerated or hot holding equipment.

(2) The NYC Health Department requires one thermometer in all refrigeration. We have installed two

thermometers in each refrigerator to exceed current codes.

(3) Plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow

prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly

drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.

(3) We have installed the required anti-siphonage and backflow prevention device required by code.

(4) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to vermin exist.

(4) We have not had vermin in the Shake Shack nor were there any signs of prior infestation during

the inspection. The Shack is vermin proof; we have made sure all cracks or holes are sealed. As

additional insurance, we have doubled our monthly pest inspections to occur twice monthly.

(5) Food Protection

(5) All containers are sealed.

(6) Tobacco use, eating, drinking in food preparation, food storage or

dishwashing area observed.

(6) The terminology of this health department code is broad. We have never permitted our employees

to smoke within or outside of Shake Shack. The area behind the facility will be monitored for cigarette

butts from outside park users and cleaned immediately.

(7) Toilet facility not provided for employees or for patrons when required.

(7) We have established an agreement with the Department of Parks and Recreation for our

employees to use the basement bathrooms. Unfortunately, due to space limitations we do not have

bathroom facilities available for patrons.

(8) Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet

room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure not provided at facility.

Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided.

(8) We have always had adequate hand washing facilities. Hot and cold running water was adjusted

to work with required pressure.

(9) Evidence of flying insects or live flying insects present in facility's food and/or

non-food areas.

(9) Operating in an open public park is both a privilege and a challenge. To help with line speed, both

our order and pickup windows are open to accommodate guests. If necessary, we will install screens

on the windows.

(10) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer not provided or used to

evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling,

reheating and holding.

(10) Code requires each cook to use an appropriate stem-type thermometer. We currently exceed NYC

Health Department code by requiring our cooks to have two stem-type thermometers at all times.

(11) Cooked or prepared food is cross-contaminated.

(11) To adhere to the code, we now store meat and cheese in separate coolers.

(12) Food worker does not wash hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet,

otherwise contaminating hands.

(12) The terminology of this health department code is broad. Our employee was specifically cited for

not changing gloves after wiping the ice cream service station, NOT FOR: coughing, sneezing,

smoking, preparing raw foods or visiting the toilet. We now have certified sanitation supervisors onsite

to maintain service standards at all times.

(13) Food Protection Certificate not held by supervisor of food operations.

(13) 100% of all Shack managers have completed and passed NYC food protection courses.

(14) Cold food held above 41°F (smoked fish above 38°F) except during

necessary preparation.

(14) All refrigeration has been adjusted to maintain adequate temperatures in compliance with health

codes.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Given that Shake Shack has been in operation for two years now, I'm having difficulty understanding why all of this should be heaped on the establishment at once. Quite a few of the violations listed apparently have been in existence since the place opened. You'd think NY Dept of Health would have asked to had these fixed a long time ago if they were serious enough infractions.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I recently visited and thought "yeah, there could be some health issues with this food", but hey, it's 1 up from a street vendor, so what. :rolleyes:

My burger was fine, but in no way amazing and not worth more than a 10-15 minute wait.

The fries were crap. There was a fly sucking on the sauce from the ketchup dispenser - I didn't bother.

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