Tag Archives: Five Guys

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?

Our Long Wait Is Almost Over…

…because Shake Shack opens July 20.

It’s the most eagerly anticipated Westport hamburger news since way back in 2010, when Five Guys came to town.

Shake Shack sees Five Guys’ burgers and fries, and raises them with hot dogs, shakes and frozen custard.

Plus beer and wine.

Let the burger battles begin.

Fairfield County Foodies Favor…Fairfield

Fairfield County Weekly’s annual reader’s poll is out.

In it, something else is out:  Westport as a culinary capital.

The free paper’s survey covers a broad array of categories:  restaurants, bars and clubs, drinks and eating (as in “best buffalo wings,” “best burrito,” “best falafel”…).

For those of us clinging to the idea that Westport’s got all best places in Fairfield County, I have 3 words:  Get over it.

According to the Weekly’s readers, Fairfield reigns as county king.  Our eastern neighbor won 30 categories — 32, if you count Southport as separate, which the paper did.  (Southport Brewing Company won for Best Brew Pub, Coromandel for Best Indian Restaurant.)

In 2nd place was Stamford (27 winners).  The great gastronomic metropolis of Bridgeport came in 3rd (14).

Norwalk had 10 winners.  We were 1 back, with 9.

Actually, only 5 separate places made the cut — 3 won multiple categories.

The good news is that Le Farm picked up the big prize — Best Restaurant Overall — along with Best Chef (congrats, Bill Taibe).

Splash was a triple victor — Best Place for Brunch, Best Restaurant With a Water View, Best Restaurant With Outdoor Dining.  (The last 2 are not, technically speaking, culinary awards.)

Our only other double winner was — ah, how the mighty have fallenFive Guys.  It captured Best Burger and Best Fries honors, which are culinary awards (technically speaking).

Sakura won for Best Japanese Restaurant.  Our other champ, meanwhile, took Fairfield Weekly’s version of the Oscars’ Best Key Grip:  Crumbs has the Best Cupcakes.

(Well, it should.  How many cupcake specialty shops are there around here?)

When the busboy fills your glass, some people see it as half-empty.  They would say that — culinarily speaking — Westport has gotten really, really dead.

I prefer to see the glass as half-full.  I think Westporters are too busy dining in our many fine establishments to fill out some dumb-ass survey.

Let’s Eat

“Restaurant Week” — a blah-ly named but nonetheless welcome Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event — kicks off tomorrow.

Twenty eateries will offer special prix fixe lunch and dinner menus, through March 6.  Prices range from $15 lunch and $25 dinner (casual restaurants) to $20 lunch and $35 dinners (higher end).  Select wines are available for $5.

The restaurants include Acqua, Balducci’s, Bertucci’s, Black Duck, Bombay, Blue Lemon, Bobby Q’s, DaPietro’s, The Dressing Room, Dunville’s, Finalmente, La Villa, Manolo, Mansion Clam House, Matsu Sushi, River House Tavern, Rizzuto’s, Splash, Tarantino’s, and Tavern on Main.

What?  No Five Guys?!

Whatever.  Westport’s newest hot spot will be packed all week, prix fixe or non.

Pass the peanuts.

Bon appetit!

5 Guys, 50 Workers, 500 Customers, 5000 Calories

Thousands of Westporters from the 1960s have orgasmic memories of burgers from Big Top.

Chubby Lane’s owned the ’70s; Fuddruckers the ’80s.

The ’10s belong to Five Guys.

My burger was half this size.

Westport’s newest favorite restaurant has drawn rave reviews.  The parking lot is always packed — and because many of those cars belong to high school students, I’ve stayed away.  Hungry teenagers who’ve had their drivers licenses for 12 hours, combined with lines stretching out the door in sub-freezing temperatures, is not my cup of tea.

But a window of opportunity opened the other day — there was an open spot, and it wasn’t even the handicap one! — so I zoomed in, just like a teenager.  I had to see what all the hype was about.

I eat red meat maybe once a week.  So I ordered the dubiously named “Little Cheeseburger.”  (I heard snickers from the guys behind me in line.  Hey, shut up — I’m a little guy.)

I had studied the toppings menu while waiting, but with a dozen or so folks waiting behind to order, I felt some performance anxiety.  I blurted out a combination of onions, lettuce, pickle, jalapeno peppers, ketchup and relish.  Hey, there’s no accounting for taste.  The ETA, I was told was “7 minutes.”

Six minutes later — remember, kids, when you go into business:  Under-promise, and over-deliver — my “little cheeseburger” was bagged and handed over.

It certainly tasted good.  My bizarre list of toppings hit the spot.  And all for a mere $4.76 (and 654 calories).

I filled my red-meat quota for the week (month) (winter).    You can be sure that — just as soon as I finish digesting it, some time in April — I will be back for more.