Well, we finally went to Shake Shack last night after chickening out so many times b/c of the long lines. I've been dying to try this place after first hearing about it on this site right after it had closed last Fall for the season.
At 8:30PM, the wait was approximately 45 minutes and then another 20 minutes or so for the food. We went there knowing they'd be a wait so we weren't upset by it. I was impressed by their attempts at setting up the menu stands and other signage. There was definitely a sufficient # of tables and chairs and, although it was a really nice night in a very nice environment, people don't hang at the tables forever. Geez, I actually never saw such a large, civilized group of people together in one place.
I also appreciated the system with the buzzers to indicate that the food is ready for pick-up. I wish the lines were shorter and perhaps there are ideas for speeding it up but they seem to be responsive by setting up a good system unlike so many other places that seem to be clueless.
I was impressed with the condiment stand. [chuckle]. Everything was so well-maintained (despite the # of people picking stuff) and the thermos of cold water (yup, it was wonderfully cold) was a really nice thought. The guy cleaning the stand directed me back to the window for cups . He was really, really nice about it. The folks doing all the work in the back were going non-stop and were extremely pleasant and polite despite the endless work. It also seems like they have a good cooling system inside which I'm sure helps tremendously.
Now for the food. After reading a couple of mixed reviews here, I had wondered if it was just the environment and the experience. So I didn't quite know what to expect. I got the double with sauce and lettuce. The burgers were a great size (nice and thick) and the taste was outstanding. It may even surpass Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien, my favorite burger place. Aside from the great tasting burger, perfectly cooked, the sauce is really outstanding. I completely agree with those on other posts who said the sauce makes the burger .
I went in expecting raw , crinkle-cut fries, practically still frozen on the inside and sort of mushy. I guess this is what I had envisioned (worse case scenario) after reading the reviews on the fries. Surprisingly, they were crispy and cooked well done but not burnt. Sure, I've had far better fries but I've had far worse fries in countless other places.
The order of fries was very generous as was the size of the coke unlike the size of coke
from Le Parker Meridien.
So, while I will always love the food at Le Parker Meridien, I gotta say I'll definitely be a regular at Shake Shack until they close next Fall. I was also amazed at how neat everyone was about throwing away their stuff. ...And not a homeless person to be seen. Just a really nice group of folks enjoying great burgers. Just a very cool setting with great food. Thanks, Hounds, for telling me about this place!