By Interactive Strategies
Oct 19, 2011

1st Annual Octobërgerfest - Burger Diaries Day 2

Day 2 of our burger adventure hit a little closer to home.  For this round we looked no further than across  the street to the hotly contested, oft-glorified, NY import, Shake Shack.  While this burger mecca frequently invites a lunchtime horde of eager enthusiasts, I'd hazard to say the fervor has died down quite a bit in recent months since their flagship opening this past summer.  Hype or no hype, we aimed to find out how their burgers stack up.

**Check out our inaugural post to get a run-down of the Octobërgerfest manifesto and rating system**

Brad - Double ShackBurger with everything (Shack sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles), fries and a Coke Zero
Vanessa - Single cheeseburger, no bun, with lettuce and ketchup
Cory -  Single burger, no bun, with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.
Corey - ShackBurger with lettuce, tomato, side of fries
Victor - ShackBurger with everything, ketchup, side of fries (to-go)
Paul B - Double burger with everything (except Shack Sauce, which only comes on a ShackBurger and costs $2.00 for some reason?), medium root beer

First thought - a bit underwhelming.  Everything about the burger seems phoned-in.  I'd almost compare it to the cheeseburger I got in highshcool, cafeteria-style. That being said, there's nothing wrong with any one element, per se.. but nothing great either.  The burger is sufficiently juicy, but hardly flavorful, the beefy qualities are dull and not very pronounced.  The iceberg lettuce is straight out of a bag, and the tomato could be a bit riper.  Pickles and ketchup do their job as standard acoutrements, but nothing worth mentioning.  All in all our burgers have an institutional, manufactured quality to them, both in appearance and taste. Not a good look.


Brad's Scorecard
"My first impression was that it was a very nice looking and well built burger. The proportion of toppings, cheese,  bun and meat was just right and nothing overloaded my palate.
The burger was cooked well, juicy and not greasy.  Beyond that I can't say anything stood out to me about this burger. It was good, not great.  Had it not been for the fries, I would say the Shake Shack was a bust, but the fries were crispy and salty and I found myself wanting more even after I was full. I can't say I won't be back, but I can rule out standing in line for 2 hours."

Taste - 7/10
Presentation - 5/5
Originality - 3/5
Wildcard - 4
TOTAL - 19/25


Vanessa's Scorecard
"Overall my opinion on taste may be a bit biased since I am not a frequent beef burger eater but rather go for the turkey or veggie burgers instead when given the option. Unfortunately, at Shake Shack my options were limited as they did not offer turkey burgers and their veggie burger was a portobello mushroom (not a fan). Not to mention I had to lie about being alergic to gluten in order to have my single cheeseburger patty with no bun!"

Taste – 5
Presentation – 2 
Originality –  2
Wildcard – 3 …tasty French fries at least
TOTAL - 12/25


Cory's Scorecard
 "I ordered a bunless burger with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. It was served to me in a French fry boat. Not a user friendly way to serve a burger - it was so small I needed baby hands to cut it up. And eating a burger with a knife and fork is no way to eat a burger. A lettuce bun would have been apropos. I did love the crinkle fries – being the French fry sucker that I am." 

Taste - 4
Presentation - 1
Originality - 1
Wildcard - 3 for crinkle fries
TOTAL - 9 / 25


Corey's Scorecard
Taste - 7
Presentation - 2
Originality - 1
Wildcard - 2 (they have shakes and TVs- more seating, location) BUT no condiments on tables, no choice of how i want my burger cooked (medium, well, etc.,)   **not impressed*
TOTAL - 12 / 25


Victor's Scorecard
Taste - 4
Presentation - 3
Originality - 1
Wildcard - 2 (decent crinkle cut fries)
TOTAL - 10 / 25


Paul B's Scorecard

"I’ve been to Shake Shack on several occasions before Octobergerfest, and was always less than impressed.  I’ve even gone out of my way to write the management an email to complain about the quality of their buns, which seem doughy, bland and inconsequential.  In retrospect, I guess I should have just complained about the whole burger.  The only reason I ever went back was because the establishment is right across the street from our office and its convenient calories when I’m working hard.

With that said, I detected a slight uptick in the quality of their product on this fine day. The fries were crispier and saltier than I remember, but the sight of them is truly uninspired.  They look like the fries you got as a kid at middle school lunch.  The burger was less greasy than remember, but the taste is less than memorable.  And you know about my feelings about the bun.  The drink was a regular, corn syrupy, artificially flavored grease cutter.  Shake Shack needs to get with the program and offer naturally flavored and sugar sweetened sodas.

Overall, I just don’t get the appeal of this place.  There were lines for a month or two, and it seems to be more popular on Friday than any other day (my windows looks out onto their front door, so I notice these things), but I think people are wizening up to their lack of effort, originality, and quality and the factory-like vibe of the place.  Maybe someday I’ll have to try their infamous Concrete frozen custard beverage, then again, maybe not.   In my opinion, Shake Shack is the burger of last resort."

Taste: 5
Presentation: 2
Originality: 1
Wildcard: 0
Total: 8/25


So there you have it.  I think we all had higher hopes from such an ostensible heavy hitter.  Though, with a name like "Shake Shack" Perhaps it's worth trying one of their namesake frozen custards next time around.  It could very well be what they're better at.

Tune in tomorrow for day 3!





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