Photo: Alexander Palace
Shake Shack is always mentioned when discussion turns to burgers in New York. While favourites vary, the fare from this institution is always in contention, and I put it at the top of my list. Moist, filling and bursting with flavour, it’s hard to walk away disappointed. And, I’m not the only person who feels this way, as you can see from the long lines that tend to form at each of the four locations in Manhattan.I’ve seen many people stop, cock their heads and try to decide whether the wait is worth it. I’ve stood in line for over an hour in Madison Square Park to sink my teeth into a double cheeseburger with Shack sauce, but I don’t do it often. It’s a tough decision to make, and in the end, it’s worth it.
As with any institution, there are secrets to getting the most out of your Shake Shack visit. From picking the right time to coping with the line, you can make small decisions that will lead to a bigger smile when you chomp away at your burger. I’ve learned a few things over my many, many visits to the Shack. Here are five that will help you.
1. Don’t go first thing in the morning: I found at the Madison Square Park location that the best time to hit the Shack is at 10:50 AM. You may not be first in line, but you’ll be second or third. 10 minutes seems to be the shortest wait you’ll be able to finagle. But, the burgers aren’t as good that early. They aren’t as warm and don’t seem to be cooked as well. You’ll have better luck later in the day, when the kitchen has hit its rhythm.
2. Have a beer while you wait: New York and travel blogger Laurie DePrete noticed on our Shake Shack excursion (visiting all four in Manhattan) that few people were sipping beer while waiting. Use the “C” line (for cold orders) – called the “B” line at Madison Square Park – to grab a couple of cold ones. The line there is never long, and you’ll have a great way to pass the time while waiting to place your order.
3. Don’t choke at the moment of truth: Especially when the line is long, there’s no reason not to know what you’re going to order when you step up to the counter. Every location has menus available while you’re in line, with some handing them out when it’s long. There are menus hanging all over the place at each of the four locations. Don’t let your indecision drag the process out for everyone else.
4. Bring a quarter to Madison Square Park: Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary would be proud. His plans for pay-to-pee have been implemented inadvertently at the original Shake Shack location, where the only available bathroom is a self-cleaning public toilet, with a 20-five-cent price of admission. Whether you feel the urge while waiting in line or after you’ve eaten, the frustration of having a bathroom and no means of entry can be horribly frustrating. The other three Shake Shack locations in Manhattans have bathrooms available.
5. Skip the fries: The fries at Shake Shack aren’t bad, but they don’t have the same impact as the burgers. It may feel like a breach of some universal code to have burgers without fries, but this is the time to buck the system. Get an extra burger instead, and get a little more of what the Shack does best.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.