I tried the up-and-coming burger chain that's beloved by political elites and wants to be the next Shake Shack -- here's the verdict

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  • I tried the up-and-coming burger chain, Good Stuff Eatery, that is trying to become the next Shake Shack.
  • The chain already has a cult following in Washington, DC. I ran into two members of Congress while eating.
  • I liked Good Stuff Eatery better than Shake Shack.

I was driving back to New York City from Virginia when a colleague suggested that I stop in Washington, DC, to try Good Stuff Eatery, an up-and-coming burger joint trying to give Shake Shack a run for its money.

Good Stuff Eatery opened its first doors in DC in 2008, just four years after Shake Shack started in Manhattan, but has since franchised other locations in the DC metro area, as well as in Chicago and even Saudi Arabia.

While both burger joints use sustainable ingredients, including grass-fed beef and other meats and dairy products free from antibiotics and hormones, their menus are also a little different.

Here’s how Good Stuff Eatery matches up.


Here’s Good Stuff Eatery’s first location at 303 Pennsylvania Avenue, which sits on a quaint street with trendy bars and restaurants, just steps away from Capitol Hill.

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The inside, which is long and narrow, has two floors. The first floor is where orders are taken and food is prepared.

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The second floor is for seating.

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I asked the manager what’s popular, and he suggested the Colletti’s Smokehouse burger and the Prez Obama burger, along with the Spike’s Village Fries. So I went with it.

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And while the cookies looked good, the manager suggested the toasted marshmallow milkshake — so I trusted his expertise.

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They offer a variety of sauces for the fries: ketchup (obviously) along with Sriracha, Old Bay, Chipotle, and Mango. Already a fan of the first two, I went out on a limb and tried the last three.

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I then went upstairs and found a seat.

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As I was settling down at my table, the man sitting next to me pointed out two people eating on the other side of the room.

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It was Democratic Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Cheri Bustos enjoying milkshakes. Wasserman Schultz was trying the Oreo shake, and Bustos was eating the toasted marshmallow shake.

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I probably should have asked them some nonfood-related questions as well – but I had a job to do.


I unwrapped the two burgers and poured out the fries. The first thing I noticed was that the food was a little greasy — but hey, I’ll take grease over tortured cows any day.

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I dove right into the Obama burger first, which is topped with applewood bacon, Roquefort cheese, and an onion marmalade and horseradish mayo sauce.

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The beef patty and bacon strips were thick and cooked perfectly. The fries also had that great unprocessed taste, and the thyme, rosemary, and sea salt toppings coincided with that flavour well.


But the three sauces I chose were not the greatest. The mango was too sweet for the fries, while the Old Bay was too strong and the chipotle simply didn’t go well with the rosemary and thyme toppings.

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My only gripe with the Obama burger, which is seen below, was that the onion marmalade was a little overwhelming, drowning out the rest of the flavours in the burger.

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Next I dug into the Colletti’s Smokehouse, which comes with applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, fried visalia onion rings and chipotle BBQ sauce.

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The Colletti’s was nothing short of sublime. No one sauce or ingredient overpowered the others, and the onion rings were crispy and complemented the sharp cheddar well.


But hands down, the toasted marshmallow milkshake was the best part of the meal. The custard, which is made in-house daily, was sweet and creamy — almost like egg nog. And I could literally taste the toastiness in the toasted marshmallows.

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When the food was gone, I knew right away that I liked Good Stuff Eatery more than Shake Shack — but that’s not a swipe at the latter.

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Good Stuff Eatery and Shake Shack are incredibly similar – not only in the food they serve but in the sustainable ingredients they use.

But despite the fact that the two burger joints are cut from the same cloth, their menus betray their underlying differences.

Shake Shack is more traditional – like a healthier version of A&W. Their burgers come with traditional toppings, and there are no unique blends of trendy sauces and ingredients.

Even their fries are crinkle-cut, like a deli out of the 1950s. Their milkshakes also come in traditional flavours, such as vanilla, chocolate and caramel.


Good Stuff Eatery’s burgers, on the other hand, are replete with a variety of cheeses, sauces and other burger toppings.

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Their fries are seasoned with rosemary, thyme and others, and their milkshakes come in a variety of blends, such as Oreo cookie, lemon meringue and black forest.

This is the deciding factor in choosing between Good Stuff Eatery and Shake Shack. If you want a healthy, traditional burger, then head to Shake Shack, but if you’re looking for a healthy, unique burger then go to Good Stuff Eatery.

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