One of the youth from my home church in Malaysia was visiting NYC a couple of weeks ago. He was in town for a few weeks, en route to Milwaukee, where he will start his 4 year degree at Marquette. So, we figured we will take him out to dinner and introduce him to some NYC good eats. We initially wanted to take him to the original Papaya King on the Upper East Side for some NYC style hot dogs, but I later found out that it's close for renovations this summer. We finally ended up at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park for some of the best burgers and frozen custards in NYC!Madison Square Park is located at the northern end of the Flatiron district and is formed by the intersection of 5th Ave, Broadway and 23rd St. We took the 33rd St PATH from Journal Square and got off at the 23rd St station. From there, we just walked a few blocks and there we were. You can also get there by subway on the R or W train on 23rd St. That stop directly in front of Madison Square Park. When we arrived, we saw this crazy long line that circled almost all the way around the park. So many people, one would think that they were giving out free burgers or something!
We joined the line and patiently waited with the rest of the people, as we slowly inched our way towards Shake Shack. At this point, we were not even close to the actual building, let alone the order window. Something tells me that it's gonna be a long long night :P
After about half an hour or so in line, we inched our way around the park and Shake Shack was finally in sight! By then, the sun was already beginning to set and the lights all around the park as well as the fairy lights around Shake Shack was slowly coming on. It was quite a pretty sight actually. Just a little 411 about the Shake Shack. There are quite a few outlets located all over NYC (Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Theater District & Citi Field), at the Saratoga Race Course and even one outlet in Miami, Florida! However, this Madison Square Park outlet is the original outlet. Yeah, this is where it all began back in 2004.
Finally, after about 45 minutes in line, the order window was in sight! Darren looked quite happy cos he finally gets to try the much talked about Shack Burger and Kevin, well, Kevin just looks relieved that the wait was finally over! Actually, it wasn't all that bad a wait. It was a nice cool evening and Madison Square Park is a very beautiful park. There is actually a webcam (the Shack Cam!) on the roof of the building, streaming live feeds to the Shake Shack website. So, if you are standing anywhere around here and beyond this point, there is a high chance that you will appear on cam! :P
Once we got closer to the order window, we noticed that there are actually two lines. Here's how it works. The A-Line is the long line that stretches all the way around the park. You can order anything from the A-Line. Now, there is a way shorter line (sometimes there isn't even anybody in line) called the B-Line. That's the line for drinks, desserts, gifts cards and Shake Shack merchandise. Well, that makes a whole lot of sense. I mean, say you line up for an hour to get your burger and fries. Of course you would want dessert to go along with dinner rite? However, if you order your frozen custard or sundae together with dinner, it would melt by the time you finish your burger. We don't want that, do we? Also, it doesn't make sense to get back in line and wait another hour or so just for an ice cream cone. So, the B-Line is the perfect solution!
After about an hour in line, we were finally there! Getting here feels like winning the lottery :P The Shake Shack menu is pretty basic. They have burgers, flat top dogs, fries, frozen custards, shakes, sodas and alcoholic drinks (beer and wine). Nothing fancy, just your typical all American burger, fries and soda thing. Hey, it's simple but it works.
Once we have placed our order and paid at the order window, we were given a little device that says "When I'm shakin', come on up to the shack!". It would shake and buzz once our order is ready. Then, we could go pick up our order at the pick up window. Since there were so many people, we expected to wait for quite a bit for our food. So, we walked around to look for a table and sat down to wait. Actually, I was pretty surprised that it was relatively easy to get a table. I guess a lot of people either get burgers to go or maybe we were just lucky. Who knows...
After waiting for about 10 minutes or so, the device started shaking and buzzing. Woohoo! Looks like our food is ready! We went up to collect our order from the pick up window, all neatly packed in a brown box. There was also a large counter next to the pick up window, where we could help ourselves to condiments and stuff like that. The boys each had a Double Shack Burger ($7.25 each) and I had the Shack Stack ($8.75). We also shared two servings of Cheese Fries ($3.75 each) among the three of us.
Both Kevin and Darren each ordered a large Fresh Squeezed Lemonade ($3.25 each) and I had the Arnold Palmer ($3). The Arnold Palmer was really refreshing and pretty good. It's a combination of half Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and half Fresh Brewed Iced Tea. A very yummy combination! I also liked it cos it wasn't really sweet but it was just lightly sweetened. Nice.
Ahhh the Cheese Fries. Actually, the Cheese Fries were pretty disappointing. If only it tasted as good as like looks. The fries were soggy and it really tasted a little weird. It had some sort of a powdery aftertaste. We didn't even managed to finish the fries. Yeah, it was that bad. :(
However, whatever that lacked in the fries, our burgers made up for it. They were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! So so so so good! I didn't manage to snap a close up of the boys Double Shack Burger but they said that it was awesome. All of Shake Shack's Black Angus burgers are 100% natural, with no antibiotics or hormones. Also, they are ground fresh and hand formed daily. They are then cooked to medium and served on a toasted potato bun. The boys Shack Burger consist of two burger patties, fresh lettuce, plum tomatoes, American cheese and topped with their special ShackSauce. My Shack Stack (shown in the picture) has one burger patty, American Cheese, a Shroom (crisp fried portobello mushroom with melted muenster and cheddar cheese), plum tomatoes, lettuce and also topped with the special ShackSauce. Seriously, the burgers were so awesome. Sooo juicy and good. It was so juicy that you could feel the juices squirting out, with each bite! No wonder people don't mind lining up for an hour or so, just to get some. It's like a drug, you just want to come back for more and more! Shake Shack has one of the best burgers in NYC. There, I have said it!
After our burgers, the boys wanted to get some dessert (not me, I was too stuffed to eat anything more!). So, off they went to the B-Line (yes, thank god for the B-Line :P) to get some frozen custard. Shake Shacks frozen custards are made in a real custard machine, which spins the custard at really fast speeds, thus making it dense but soft with an intensely rich consistency. They each got a Hand-Spun Shake ($5.25) and added on a topping each (extra $0.75 per topping). Shown in the picture is Darren's Vanilla Hand-Spun Shake with Hot Fudge Sauce. Kevin ordered Vanilla too but with Bananas. I took a couple of mouthfuls of Kevin's frozen custard and it was yummy! Good stuff! :D Overall, I think that Shake Shack is totally awesome. Definitely worth the long wait! Come for the uber yummy burgers and stay for the frozen custards. In my opinion, it's one of the best burger joints in NYC!
Shake Shack - Madison Square Park
Southeast Corner of Madison Square Park
(near Madison Ave & East 23rd St)
11 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Tel: (212) 889 6600