Updated: Nov 23, 2019
As good as it gets indeed
Yes I'm one of "those" people that have never been to Steak & Shake or Shake Shack. I didn't even know there was a Shake Shack anywhere near Chicago. Lucky me they built a brand spanking new one next to one of my offices so I not only get to try new food, but have a new place to review!
Walking in the "fresh construction" aroma hits you like a ton of bricks. It's a manly smell, a mixture of musk, wood, and protein. The interior is built to the standards of a modern food court, nice, clean stainless steel finishes coupled with wood furniture & paneling to create a chic atmosphere that would attract the trendiest of crowds. For those of us that come in bigger flavors you'll be glad to know that Shake Shack's tables are not the low to the floor, gum on your pants traps that exist with the confines of a McDonalds or Burger King. Shake Shack's table's are the perfect height and they have normal chairs.
For a restaurant close to downtown the prices aren't as steep as you would expect although definitely comparable to Five Guys prices. Burgers don't come with fries nor drinks so altogether you'll spend around $15-$18 for a complete meal. For a place that doesn't market itself as "gourmet" all I can say is...ouch. I ended up getting the Shack Stack, Shack Cago Dog, Fries & the "featured flavor", a watermelon basil lemonade. The total came out to be just under $25 which for a burger, hot dog, fries and lemonade I have to say it again...OUCH.
The place starts to get busy around lunch hour, but they were able to get people's orders rather quick. From that point on it was just taking a number and finding a place to sit. Shake Shack uses a neat tracking system that is embedded in the numbered plaque you get. My order ended up taking about 30 minutes to get to me. It got to the point where the staff was even confused as to why it was taking so long as I didn't order anything special.
"The food is nothing less than perfection made on a griddle in Heaven then served on a plate of dreams."
Once I finally got my order I was blown away by the presentation and quality of the food! It's rare to get a menu item that actually looks like it does in the pictures, but the staff here at Shake Shack actually did it! Is there a perfectionist cook in the kitchen who threw out 15 burgers because they weren't good enough which is why it took so long? Who knows but Jesus Christ the food tasted as good as it looked. Everything was cooked to perfection, the mushroom perfectly fried, the cheese perfectly melted, the fries had a perfect level of crisp and weren't oily as well. I scarfed down the hot dog which was the only item that didn't rise above the level of "a decent hot-dog." A work of art deserves to be cherished so I took my time working on the burger. The meat was perfectly seasoned and tender along with the lettuce being almost plastic looking how beautiful it was.
Overall, I've found my go to burger spot. The food is nothing less than perfection made on a griddle in Heaven then served on a plate of dreams. While the service time is less than stellar (I was honestly expecting to be comped something for the wait, but they offered nothing even though they were very concerned if I was going to miss my lunch break because of the delay) the food really makes up for it. All that's left is to add some alcohol and music then they're all set!
5 out of 5 Stars
185 N Morgan St Chicago, IL 60607
b/t Monroe St & Adams St West Loop, Near West Side