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Judging Restaurants – Shake Shack

by Prince Of Petworth September 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm 63 Comments

There was tons of excitement leading up to Shake Shack’s opening in May in Dupont at 18th and Jefferson St, NW (just off Connecticut.) I’m curious, now that they’ve been open for a bit, to hear what folks think – are the burgers as good as you anticipated? And I’m also curious for those who’ve tried them at the baseball game – are the stadium burgers as good as the ones at the Dupont Circle location?

  • Anonymous

    Mmmmm so good! I had a chocolate malt too and it was excellent. I was just at Nationals Park on Saturday and there was probably over 100 people in line at the Shake Shack there so my guess is..it must be good too!

    • Anonymous

      The Shake Shack at Nats Park is terrific, but here’s a bit of advice: Stay away from their co-owned food stands there. So far, I’ve had cold fries from Box Frites, dried out chicken wings from the BBQ place that tasted like they were a few days old, and sloppy, mediocre tacos from the taqueria.

      There’s a reason why there is no wait at these places. I would almost put money on them all being converted over to Shake Shacks in the off-season.

      • Cornholio

        The tacos suck, too, and the chips I ordered as a side were beyond stale.

        • Commander

          The team that plays in the stadium also sucks

      • Anonymous

        No way–I have had AWESOME fries from box frites! Also pretty decent tacos.

      • SnarkCity

        In general I agree, but the corn at the taqueria is really, really good. That’s the only thing worth ordering. My frites were so salty they were pretty much inedible. And I *love* my salt.

      • On the Hill

        Box Frites! Box Frites! Discovered them this past weekend — tastiest fries I’ve had at the ballpark (or anywhere lately, really) and you can order them with blue cheese PLUS a Blue Moon — I seriously was in foodie heaven.

  • blithe

    I apologize if this is too much of a derail — but the picture reminded me of an earlier post from a few months back: do you have any updated info re the change from the Guitar Shop located in the building above Shake Shack to a bar? I haven’t been to the Shake Shack yet….my plan has been to stop by for frozen custard the next time I stop at the Guitar Shop.

  • CD

    The place was not as good as I had anticipated.

    the burgers: high quality ingredients, uninspired/plain flavor

    the fries: crinkle, standard, unseasoned

    the root beer: amazing

    5 guys seems to put more inspiration into their burgers n fries than this place

    • inspiration = salt?

    • K

      I agree. The burger was tasty, but plain and there weren’t any excited toppings like 5 Guys offers. The fries weren’t greasy, so I felt better about eating a bunch, but just didn’t taste as good as 5 Guys.

      The chocolate shake I had was truly delicious tho. I’ll stick to 5 Guys for my burger fix.

  • jch

    Been there a few times. Burgers are good as are the shakes. Fries were meh . However, i prefer the choices and meat quality at Bobbie Flays if i am going to spend $15+ for lunch. Obviously 5 guys is go to otherwise. And none is as good as Ray’s

    • Eli

      Shake Shack is fantastic, but I agree with you on Bobby’s…it’s just out of this world.

      • notlawd

        +1 best turkey burger I ever had. Def get crunchified. Now if only shake shack sold turkey burgers, I may have to check it out…

  • TW

    I waited a few months to try it out simply because I didn’t want to spend my hour lunch break waiting in line. I think the food is decent but I much prefer 5 guys. However, I will say that their chocolate malt is so good. Unfortunately its the only thing there that exceeded expectations.

  • anonymous chick

    The food is OK and sort of nostalgic, but the tiny, unattractive and uncomfortable dining room offers a choice of either sweltering near the kitchen or smelling the bathrooms.

  • Annie

    The burgers are just okay, but I really like the crispiness of the crinkle fries. Also, the shakes are divine. However, the lines are still really long at lunch and turn around time once you finally order is pretty slow. Also the greasy meat smell could be improved with better venting.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say that if you are going to bother with their mediocre fries, it is 100% worth it to get the cheese sauce. It’s a cheddar/American blend and it makes the fries worth eating.

    • Rhody

      Completely agree about the cheese fries. Went there once around the time of the opening and the burger was great. Met expectations but didn’t exceed them. The standard fries didn’t look too appealing but that cheese sauce on the ones we ordered was excellent!

  • Steve

    the veggie mushroom+egg+cheese thing sucks. I wish they had a better veggie option — even a regular veggie burger would be better.
    Fries were delish, so was the beer.

  • Elza

    This was pretty yummy for lunch, but I think I prefer 5 Guys. Also, the shakes are expensive.

    I’d go here if it was near by, but I wouldn’t travel across town for it. Especially since there are now 39487293479 burger joints in DC…

  • 13th St

    Favorite burger in the district. Hands down. High quality ingredients in the burger and bun take precedence over creative toppings.

    Five Guys doesn’t hold a candle to shake shack except for with regards to their fries.

    As for Ray’s- I don’t like it. Portions are much too large, toppings are overkill.

    If you like simple, reasonably sized burgers that use top notch ingredients, you will like shake shack.

    • Anonymous

      100% agree

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. Well-said.

  • goodwood

    I’ve eaten at SS twice since it’s opened and their burgers are definitely worth a trip. Although on the greasy side, the quality of their meat is unrivaled to any other burger place I’ve tried in dc. Outside of the burgers, the fries (which are a’ la carte) are very average and the shakes/malts/custard are good but really pricey given the portions.

  • LeftCoastSouthpaw

    I haven’t tried the shakes or malts, but would not go back for their burgers. Ray’s or Five Guys over the Shake Shack any day of the week.

  • Anon2

    I think the burgers at Shake Shack are very good.

    For me, these are much, much better than 5 Guys…honestly I’ve never understood the appeal of that place, especially since their restaurants all strike me as pretty dirty.

    • jt$

      Agreed, 5 guys is ok only if I can’t get SS, BGR, Good Stuff or Rays which are all far superior in my opinion. I was also totally unimpressed by Bobby’s. The meat was flavorless and nothing else was above average.

  • BeerDude

    Food is pretty good but just not worth the price, especially given the relatively small burger size and fry portions.

  • anonymous

    wow. am I the only one who thinks Five Guys is disgusting?

    • Disgusting? No. Just maddeningly inconsistent. Same meal, same store, different days, one sucks, the other delicious.

    • Anon2

      I’m with you….like I said above, I just don’t find 5 Guys appealing in the least. Food is bad, restaurant is generally a low-rent disaster area.

    • JB

      No, I wholeheartedly agree that it sucks. I’ve tried it 3-4 times at different locations in an attempt to understand the raves it gets. Burgers are barely ok and fries are awful.

  • anon55

    Agree about the lack of veggie options.

    However, I will say that their red velvet custard is the best thing to happen to anyone in America.

    • Anonymous

      hahahaha “best thing to happen to anyone in America”

      Now I must try it! After all…I am ‘murican!

    • veggie

      Lack of veggie options? They have a mushroom burger stuffed which cheese which is amazing. Bobby’s Burger Palace doesn’t have a veggie burger or mushroom burger option!

      • anonymous

        i am a vegetarian and i hate mushrooms. unfortunately i see a lot of burger places though, where their only veggie option is something mushroom. bleh.

        • Derek

          Agreed. Homemade veggie burgers are way better.

          • Me

            If you are a vegetarian, why go to a burger joint and complain about their options? I don’t go to Sunflower and complain that they don’t have a decent steak option.

  • Anonymous

    I had a SS burger at Nats Stadium and (as a Five Guys fanatic) thought it was excellent. I liked the fries too. Bottom line I think Five Guys burgers are better BUT if I have a hankering for fries and have a choice that situation takes me to SS.

  • Eli

    I love Shake Shack. The burgers are incredibly flavorful. I usually go to Dupont Circle but went to the one at the Nats stadium the other day. Same quality burger, but of course, you have to wait much longer at the stadium. Still, I’ll take it over Ben’s. But unlike some, I’m not knocking Five Guys…I would take them any time a Shake Shack or Bobby’s Burger Palace isn’t around. Speaking of Bobby’s…amazing! Whereas Shake Shack has great burgers but decidedly mediocre fries (unless you smother them in cheese), Bobby’s has great burgers AND great fries. When I went, they did not have their liquor license, but I’m willing to bet that a spiked milkshake > regular Shake Shack milkshake as well.

  • anonymous

    Agree with others – SS is okay, but it’s not even the same category as other great area burgers (e.g. Ray’s or Quarry House).

  • Anonymous

    I wanted to like SS, really I did, but their burgers are dry and icky… there are so many places to get a good burger, I won’t go back.

  • ¢hris

    Shake Shack is a great place for me to indulge whenever I get my craving for good ole’ Wisconsin frozen custard. It’s what makes their shakes out of this world. Also, best burgers I’ve tasted on the east coast so far. But I haven’t tried Bobby’s yet. Looking forward to it.

  • Jeito Carioca

    I really wanted to hate Shake Shack, but finally broke down one day at Nationals Park when the lines weren’t too long and loved everything: the cheeseburger, the krinkly fries, and the black and white shake. I went to the DuPont SS one night last week for another fix. Five Guys’ burgers are fine, but I’ve never liked their fries very much. Give me krinkle cut fries any day. I guess I’m a true child of the 1960s.

  • Shake Shack may be better than Five Guys, and it is not bad, but three other places (Luna Grill, Black & Orange, and BGR) offer better burgers within three blocks. I found the Shake Shack burger had good beef flavor but was fairly underwhelming overall. Didn’t care much for the fries.

  • FA

    I LOVE Shake Shack. I would eat there for every meal if I could without my waistline and wallet taking a hit. The burgers are simple and delicious, and the cheese fries are also terrific. (They sometimes skimp on cheese sauce on the fries, but if you order the cheese on the side, they fill up a cup that has more than enough for all the fries.) I usually skip the shakes and concretes since I don’t feel the need to add that many extra calories to an already-fatty meal, but I did find they were a rather generous size when I did order one. It’s hands down my favorite burger place in the city.

    As far as comparisons, I was very disappointed by Bobby’s. I ordered my burger medium and my plate came out covered in blood. The bun was so soaked through that it was completely pinkish-red, and it was gross picking the burger up. (I tend to like my meat a bit rare anyway, but this was way too much.) I tried the “crunchified” burger since that’s the specialty, but I was not a fan. It took away from what actually seemed like it had potential to be a decent burger if it didn’t have the distraction of potato chips. However, the excess blood is probably going to discourage me from ever trying one again minus chips. The fries were not good. My friend and I thought the specialty burger sauce and fry sauce were both terrible. On the other hand, I got a dark chocolate shake and it was phenomenal. Too small a cup for $5, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was delicious.

    • Eli

      You do know that the juice you see coming from beef isn’t actually blood, right?

      • FA

        I’m sure it’s mostly “juices,” but I don’t really care what it is or isn’t, all I know is that I don’t want a burger that’s dripping and leaking everywhere when I try to eat it. Incredibly unappetizing.

  • Anonymous

    The root beer is awesome.

  • Bloomingdalian

    When are we getting an elevation burger in town??

    Also, maybe I’ve lived in the city too long, but when did it become in style to celbrate eating 2000Kcal in a single sitting??

  • Neil

    Bobby’s is much better for the essentially the same price. My burger there was cooked perfectly to order, by the way. And their fries are vastly better than Shake Shack’s, which are about as good as the Ore Ida’s you can get in the frozen food case.

  • BGR are still my fave but I love shake shack as well; shack’s buns are amazing, but wish they had more cheese options. Wish either had the five guys fries, hate the five guys burgers but much better fries than the other dc chains. Shake shack also serves a tasty root beer.

  • Barely better than a Wendy’s burger. I guess the ingredient are “good” but it’s horribly boring. Fries are even worse. I’ll give them another shot because I don’t understand how people get excited about it. I’d suggest Bobby’s Burger instead. That burger was awesome.

  • annnonnnyyy

    of the 3 newest burger joints:

    1st place: Bobby’s. Was tasty, cooked properly, and the fries were nice. Too expensive for a burger, but I tried it once.

    Tied for craptastic: 5 guys and shake shack.

    Shack: no flavor, dried meat, fries were awful.

    5 guys POUNDS its burger when they are on the grill crushing all the juice out until it is a burned out husk & the cheese melts all over the wrapping, rather than the burger. Fries are fantastic.

    • FA

      Five Guys isn’t exactly something that should count among the “newest.” It’s been around the city for at least as long as I’ve been here, which is over 7 years.

      • saf

        It’s been a lot longer than that.

        • FA

          I’m sure it has; I just wanted to quantify it off the top of my head, and without looking the history up, that was the best I could do (which is why I said “at least”).

  • On the Hill

    Dare I even say it, but I had the ‘shroom burger at Nats Park over the weekend, and I must admit that the ‘shroom burger from Good Stuff is better.

  • dcgirl6

    I love Shake Shack! It’s so much better than Five Guys. It’s difficult for me to understand the people who say they like Five Guys better… I’m sick of it. SS has much better buns and the meat is higher quality. I also like the smaller size of the burger (I usually just get a single) and also the smaller size of the fries. Let’s face it… it’s a sinful meal but SS doesn’t feel like one is being a complete glutton. Actually haven’t a shake or ice cream there yet b/c I always want a beer and can’t justify both. Bobby Burger lovers… haven’t been yet but Tom Sietsema was completely underwhelmed.

  • jt

    Not that great–I’d rather have a burger from Good Stuff Eatery…The burgers aren’t great.
    The crinkle fries are pretty good–nice crisp on the outside.
    Butt shake-wise??? …aka their namesake?
    I’d MUCH rather go to Potbelly for my Milkshakes instead. Shakeshack’s shakes…suck. try to say that 3 times :)

  • Scott

    People like that place? I’ve heard the shakes are great and that’s fine….burger I has was meh and the frozen crinkle cut fries were so bad they were insulting.

    BRG, people – their burgers rule.

  • Liz

    I was disappointed…I’m vegetarian, so I wish there was a veggie burger, but no. This means I have to eat cheese fries and ice cream. Cheese fries get one star, similar taste to microwaved Ore-Ida crinkle fries and Cheese Whiz. The the custard is pretty darn good.


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