Southeast corner of Madison Square Park
The Shake Shack is a pretty polarizing place: People love the food, but hate the wait. And depending on your constitution as a human being, one necessarily trumps the other. For me, the food trumps the wait, and that's because it's a quality burger you're getting.
Let me explain. I am not a burger person. I don't like burgers for the sake of burgers, and I will turn up my nose at a mediocre burger in favor of a dirty-water dog any day of the week. For me to really enjoy a burger, it has to be nothing less than transcendent. Enter the Shake Shack. I had never once in my entire life craved a burger — until I had the Shack Burger.
Ode on a Shack Burger
Thou still unravish'd morsel of tastiness,
Thou meaty dream of Leanness and slow Cooking,
Exquisite taste experience, who canst thus express
Thine fresh deliciousness more sweetly than our rhyme:
What red-leaf-lettuce fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of patty or fillet, or of both,
In Madison Square Park or the dales of Arcady?
What vine-ripened tomatoes are these? What delectable sauce?
What mad pursuit? What totally worthwhile wait?
What coffee* and black-and-white shakes? What wild ecstasy?
*Importantly, the Shake Shack serves coffee shakes. All the time.
My one niggling complaint is that you can no longer order a small shake — starting this season, it's large only. I can't make sense of this from an economy-of-scale point of view. Don't they make more money if we buy smaller, higher-priced-per-unit quantities? Why must the Shake Shack, purveyor of fresh, relatively healthy and fresh fast food, supersize its shakes and bombard me with calories I don't want? Perhaps I shall never understand.
But one thing you will understand, when you bite into a Shack Burger, is all the fuss about the place. Don't go during lunch, when the line is most ridiculous, and don't go when you're absolutely starving, since you will wait a little while whenever you go. I used to work near the Shake Shack, and a fellow Shack devotee and I discovered that right around 5 PM was a pretty good time, as were days of inclement weather. If you need a tipoff before you set out, check out the handy-dandy Live Shack Cam.
Read more about Shake Shack: