Shake Shack: A Very Important Restaurant

Shake Shack is one of the 20 most important restaurants in America.

That’s not me talking. The declaration comes from Bon Appetit.

The New York-based chain is right there at #16 — nestled between Seattle’s The Walrus and the Carpenter (?!) and Austin’s Franklin Barbecue. #1 is Momofuku.

A summer's night, at a very important restaurant.

A summer’s night, at a very important restaurant.

The magazine notes that these are not the nation’s best restaurants. They’re the ones that “define how we eat out.”

Here, Bon Appetit-ically speaking, is how we eat out at Shake Shack:

Danny Meyer didn’t just redefine the fast-food experience — the meal, the look, the level of service — he created a damn good burger. With its custom-blend patty (and nostalgic nods like gooey American cheese and a soft bun), it is a burger worth standing in line for—and you will likely have to, for up to an hour.

The Shack Burger

The Shack Burger

Like all fast-food chains, consistency is king, but here that means beef supplied by meat guru Pat La Frieda; cool, urban-chic spaces by architecture firm SITE; and a definitive menu, though they do tailor the “concretes” (frozen custard with mix-ins) to each location. (We’ll have the “Fudge-eddaboudit.”)

In under a decade, they’ve grown to 22 locations, from NYC to Dubai. Look for 5 more in 2013, including Istanbul.

Right now, there are only 2 Shake Shacks in Connecticut. Ours opened in 2011; New Haven followed last year.

Five Guys did not make the cut.

What are they — chopped liver?

15 responses to “Shake Shack: A Very Important Restaurant

  1. Shop local, nobody beats the burgers at the Duck!

  2. The Duck, with it’s special burgers, as well as it’s homage to great Westport burger joints of the past (Ships, the Big Top), is as good as it gets…not just locally, but it may be the best burger to be found anywhere…and the sweet potato fries!!!

    Take THAT fancy, overpriced NY burger place…I’d wait on line for the Duck….but not for Shake Shack.

  3. The Duck serves some of the worst food I have ever had. Decades ago, it might have been the “best.” But the dirty grungy atmosphere and poor service, paired with the bland taste and limited options, makes the Duck feel more like quackery. You’re all living in the past. Dust off those menus and try something new.


      Shake Shack and Five Guys are so over priced and so over rated! I agree the service at the Duck needs to be improved, but there is no better tasting burger in this town. I tried Shake Shack and 5 Guys once, one time too many.

  4. Burgers at Mario’s are not too shabby.

    • There’s a Shake Shack about 200 yards from me here in Manhattan. The burgers are completely unexceptional. I only go for the occasional cheese fries takeout. The mushroom burgers…I’m pretty sure I could make better ones myself.

  5. That top photo is so funny. It makes me think of Stepford Husbands. The men are all dressed exactly alike. What are Westport Women doing to them 😉

  6. I had a Big Topp Burger at The Duck Last week, was awesome!!! I highly recommend it!

  7. I love Shack Shake but not enough if I have to wait very long (usually in the summer)!!
    Five Guys is pretty good and I love to shell peanuts- usually no wait except for them to cook the burger.

    The Duck really depends on your style! I can see from the comments taste varies! My wife and I go there most Thursdays when we get back from NY- I like its relaxed atmosphere with a wide menu offering great burgers, salads, sandwiches, steamers, wings, and salmon that my wife says is among the best in town!! Friendly service and a very reasonable price!!

    PS I am not in any way related to the owner of the Duck and expect no freebies as a result of this blog!!!!

  8. Fuddruckers [sp?] anyone?

  9. Babette d'Yveine

    The Duck is lots of fun and their burgers are petty good. In my opinion, Bogey’s had the best burgers in Westport, but unfortunately, they’re gone.

    I think the best burgers in the area are at SBC, just a mile or so down the road in Southport. Cooked to perfection, and a choice of several toppings. Try it!

    Five Guys’ burger are dreadful, and Shake Shack isn’t much better.

  10. Not a fan of 5 guys. However, I disagree with anyone who knocks Shake Shack. I have tried almost every outpost except Miami and Las Vegas (and I’ll be checking out Miami next week) and I think they are some of the best burgers for the price and my son rarely makes it through a trip to Westport without one of their hot dogs. But, of course, the article isn’t about the best food, it’s about changes in what we’re eating and what we’re expecting of what we get. Momofuku doesn’t serve the best Ramen or Pork buns in New York but it is a restaurant (chain) that has caused a huge shift in what people expect when they go out in New York.

  11. The grease alone is a turn-off! Shake Shack burgers are not nearly as good as others in Westport.