Shake Shack has long since been lauded as the East Coaster’s In-N-Out, but finally Angelenos can compare the two in the same city. The fast-food restaurant, which is well known for their grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free hot dogs and burgers, started as a hot dog stand in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, but word spread quickly, and by 2004, a permanent store was opened in the park. Now 12 years later, Shake Shack has stores in 13 states and even has international locations in London, Istanbul and Dubai — but finally it’s Los Angeles’ turn.
The West Hollywood location opened March 15 with lines down the street, and now, a week on, the lines are still long. The line around lunchtime stretched along Santa Monica Boulevard, down the block toward La Cienega Boulevard and took over an hour to traverse. Ultimately, the food is good — although perhaps not worth waiting an hour.
Their beef patties used in their “ShackBurgers” are tender and juicy, while the American cheese is creamy and perfectly accents the meat. The lettuce and tomatoes are very fresh and bring a lightness to the burger.
The “’Shroom Burger” is definitely worth trying. A portobello mushroom is filled with muenster and cheddar cheese, covered with breadcrumbs, and fried. Served with lettuce, tomato and “ShackSauce,” all elements work together to create a truly mouth-watering burger. Even avid meat lovers won’t miss the protein.
The burgers are much smaller than standard fare, and with a cheeseburger priced at $5.29, it’s not cheap compared to many other places. For anyone with a healthy appetite, it’s definitely worth upgrading to a double patty for the extra $2.80 — especially after braving the line.
The crinkle-cut fries are tasty, but nothing to write home about. They’re not overly greasy and are nicely crisp but pretty standard. However, for an extra dollar, they will upgrade to cheese fries.
For dessert, Shake Shack offers frozen custard-based milkshakes, which are worth trying. The vanilla is particularly delectable, as the smooth custard flavor really shines through. Additionally, the restaurant supplies “concretes,” which are essentially just sundaes. The Shack Attack features chocolate custard, fudge sauce, salted caramel chocolate brownie, chocolate chunks and sprinkles. While it’s delicious, it melts quickly (perhaps it’s better as a pre- rather than post-meal dessert), and it is nothing to go crazy over. Shake Shack offers 5 percent of its sales of the Rainbow Connection concrete (vanilla custard, donut pieces, and strawberry and rose jam served with rainbow sprinkles) to LA PRIDE, which devotes itself to advancing LGBT rights.
There are other perks as well. Shake Shack has also secured an alcohol license, so beer and wine will also be found on the menu. For those who are dog-crazy — don’t worry, they sell dog treats too. So while Shake Shack is good — and definitely worth trying — it might be worth waiting until the line dies down.
Shake Shack is opening another location in Glendale later this year, as well as a downtown Los Angeles location in 2017.