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Wednesday
Jul202011

Shake Shack Opens Today in Westport

Delicious…that’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

The ShackBurger: Shake Shack brought its world-famous (yes they have a location in Dubai) offerings to Westport today and I enjoyed one of the best hamburgers, hot dogs and shakes in the area. With all the hype of opening day I felt a bit nervous as I waited with dozens of other customers for my ShackBurger, Shack-cago Dog and fries.

The ShackBurger includes Shake Shack’s signature burger topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce, half wrapped and half exposed to tease the customer. After one bite it was clear why so many love this delightful hamburger. The meat was deliciously seasoned, the tomatoes were ripe and flavorful, the lettuce was crispy and the cheese was nicely melted. The ShackSauce was the epitome of a tomato-mayo delight and was a great complement to the meat and cheese. Overall it was an outstanding hamburger.

Shack-gago Dog: Overlooked by many is the Shack-gago Dog, a Midwestern transplanted Vienna hot dog topped with Rick’s Picks Shake Shack relish, onions, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard. The only difference between this hot dog and my favorites from the Windy City was the bun; Shake Shack uses a potato bun versus the tradition Chicago Poppy Seed bun. It all worked perfectly together. The all-beef hot dog had great flavor and each of the toppings added to the culinary pleasure of this simple treat without overwhelming the hot dog. Add one of the Concretes (I liked all the flavors that we tasted) and you have a Burger-Dog-Shake Tri-Fecta.

--Jeff "jfood" Schlesinger

Concretes: And then there was CONCRETE...No joke. Shake Shack outdoes itself with these composite  "blizzards" for gourmands, permanently designed to bind your "oohs" to your "aaahs." This is custard at its finest. As the PR states, the CONCREATIONS evolve when "soft serve shacks up with premium ice cream" - it's rich, it's creamy, it must be devoured. On our first of what will probably be THOUSANDS of visits, we sampled 3 such marvels, each more outrageous than the next. The juxtaposition of the smooth custard with the various "mix-ins" creates a texture trip from which you taste buds may never return.

The "Sasco Crete,"  especially created for the Westport location, is made with creamy vanilla custard and a slice of locally baked blueberry pie mixed in. Perhaps not my favorite of the three but fabulous for fresh pie lovers. And as with every site specific item at the various Shake Shacks, a percentage of the proceeds for the "Sasco Crete" is donated to local non-profits, here to the Westport Art Center. Very cool. Next on our agenda -the Banana Post Road. Chocolate custard, caramelized cocoa nibs, bananas and sea salt - enough to blow your mind! This sensational combination evoked unusual, otherworldly grunts from us all and spoons were majorly double-dipped! And then there was Hopscotch. This was certainly Nirvana for my sweet-tooth. The custard gods at the Shack start with frozen vanilla custard and add chunks of Guittard milk chocolate. (Guittard chocolate is an American company but was started by a Frenchman during the 1800s has been family-run for four generations.) As if that wasn't enough, toffee bits and caramel are mixed in for a truly Bucket List experience. Craving Concrete you can eat? Well get on your Yak and get to the SHACK - and come hungry!  

 --Sarah Green

 

 

 

Shake Shack 1849 Post Road East, Westport. 203.682. 6570

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

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    Shake Shack Opens Today in Westport - CT Bites - Restaurants, Recipes, Food, Fairfield County, CT

Reader Comments (26)

Gamechanger.

July 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLou

I have to admit...I don't like their burgers or fries nearly as much as I like the burgers and fries at Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Part of it may be the topping choices, but there is something about the sesame-seeded, super-soft bun and the well-done-yet-super-juicy patty at Five Guys that gets me every single time. The Shake Shack space is fantastic, and their frozen custard offerings are excellent, but when I want my fantasy-burger and some really fresh fries, I'm going to Five Guys.

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTravels4Food

Five Guys - YES Danny Meyer - NOT

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

Went to the Shack each day it's been open, and I'm loving this place. Firstly, it's no small operator ala BSF...It's a burger mecca, a burger PALACE in the same spot where, so many years ago, Moonies caught and gave away free shrimp at "Beefsteak Charlies", where my dad used to bring us for the bad steaks, the free shrimp and the free beer (argh...talk about a hungover!)

Anyway, The Shack makes a burger that in every way surpasses, in it's overall effect, the quality of BSF and 5 guys. The place is huge, it's rocking, and when your burger comes all nestled on a nice steamed bun (by far the best cheap bun in the burger biz, never did like BSF's potato bun or worse yet, the buttery toast they like to use).

The Shack is a slight bit reminiscint of a great White Castle burger, because of the steam and the qualitites of the buns. It truly is the "classic" American burger and all others do pale in comparison. And the dog? Delicious in every way.

Danny Meyer I love you. You have just saved me many trips down to BSF Darien where, to be honest, I love Lance but do not love anything else. So hey...Sorry buddy, I will miss you but I will not miss anything else.

BTW.....The Shack is SO BIG and impersonal in a good way that no one ever strongarms you to buy sodas, fries (5 guys) or any other crap you do not want......as so often happens at...5 guys. And one more thing...I personally CAN'T STAND tipping, and I am seeing into a future where more and more operators employ "servers" to ferry your food gratis. Yes it will happen, it's too compelling. I am so sick of paying the waitstaff's salary I can't even tell you.

This burger pushes the envelope of the "fast food" burger to the point where a trip to the Black Duck or Cherrystreet East, where the burgers are (usually) better, has to be reconsidered.

Bye BSF......Hello SHACK BABY.

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLEWELLEN

Sorry Travels4Food nice try. Any chance you are involved with 5 guys in Westport? hmm... Shake Shack and 5 guys are in a different league. Love the Shack.

And I agree with LEWELLEN it takes fast food burgers to a new level, sorry BSF, I am tired of tipping for a burger and hold the toast. The bun at Shake Shack and the size of the burger are perfect.

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Shake Shack is just an upscale White Castle. Nice try Danny boy, but I dont think so.

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

"Nice Try Danny boy"

foodieonline do you honestly think Danny Meyer is trolling the CTBites blog and worrying about the 5 comments that are being thrown around comparing his operation to 5 guys? I suggest you get your head checked.

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

How can you even compare Five Guys to Shake Shack? They are not even in the same league. The quality of the beef and the dogs at Shake Shack is in a different stratosphere....and then there is the custard. Totally stumped by this thread. .

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReally??

Interesting discussion on this article. Thanks to all for participating. Let me add some data and express some additional thoughts. I was thrilled to spend about 10-15 minutes with Danny Meyer and David Swinghammer, the Shake Shack CEO during my visit, and they knew of CTBites and the previous recommended list of hamburgers in the area. They are both incredible people, very dedicated and passionate of the brand and the product. Meyer was very interested in my opinion of other hamburgers and hot dogs in the area and asked me point blank what I thought was the best hamburger. My response was “Napa & Co. but at $26 it is not a good comparison.” He smiled and said, “Yeah $26 versus $4.75.” So I told him “at your price point you should try Burgers, Shakes and Fries in Darien and Byrum as they are in the same league.” He already knew of BSF, so please do not sell him short on his knowledge of great hamburgers in the area.

And comparing 5Gs to either of these is purely a matter of personal choice. My opinion is clearly that BSF and Shake Shack are light-years better.

IMHO, Shake Shack serves average tasting food that is overpriced. Can't hold a candle to IN-N-OUT on the West Coast.

July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

@Chris

Not to turn this into a I&O debate because there are none in the area, but I&O has a cult-like following out west and they do a great job of marketing. They even have a "secret" menu that is available to everyone on line. In my two visits to I&O I would say that the regular hamburger is nothing special and you really need to order the "Double-Double Animal Style" to move the needle to Shake Shack quality. And IMHO if you need to slather mustard on the meat and then grill it to move the needle away from OK, then the candle does not light up. And I am not sure how a Shake Shack burger priced at $4.75 is considered "overpriced."

The trolling on the thread is dumbfounding. Can people who have edgy opinions use their real names, so they can be taken seriously? The anonymous shots and Danny Meyer are scuzzy.

Stopped at Shake Shack yesterday (having previously had their burgers in the city). IMHO... really nice burger. Better than Five Guys, mainly because the seasoning and sear give it a flavorful outside. Beef was solid, liked the toppings. (I got the Shack Burger.) I like Five Guys - but their burgers are a little more bland - or one dimensional, though I like the broad choice of toppings. In both case, they are far superior to fast food chains with which they compete on a price and service lievel - even if they are bigger. (Never felt like Five Guys was trying to upsell when they asked about fries, btw.)

Living in Westport, I like the options - if I'm in a hurry and driving from downtown or Norwalk, I'll probably still stop in Five Guys. But given the choice, especially once the lines gets shorter, Shake Shack (especially with the bigger menu) will be the better alternative for me. Before this, I'd have said Super Duper Weenie was the closest thing to a nice alternative for getting an "independent fast food" burger near Westport. Filling Station in New Canaan is good, when you are over there, but I think they are more of the caliber of 5G than SS - they get more points for creativity than proficiency.

(Haven't been to BS&F - no need for me to drive to Darien for a good burger. And I think it is ridiculous to compare these to $20+ burgers. Of course, I think $20+ burgers are inherently ridiculous, as I can easily make as good at home without spending the money. But that is another subject, altogether.)

and +1 to Jeff's last post.

July 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

Danny,
Once again, all of us St. Louisans get to boast about their famous and talented son turned New Yorker. I'm still in Westport, by the way and wish I got invited to the opening!!!!! (I've been a bad friend so I don't blame you for not having me on your radar). Best wishes...even though you don't really need them. I hope to run into you in Westport someday.
Wendy from St. Louis (Spector Eisenberg)

Comparing Shake Shack to 5 Guys is like comparing Peter Lugers to Outback. In markets where people don't know any better, Outback is considered a top tier steakhouse. In NYC, Outback competes with Bubba Gump and Olive Garden. For burgers, there's always a line at Shake Shack and each opening is an event. Every 5 Guys opening is greeted with a shrug -- especially in Westport. Lines at the 5 Guys are shorter than they are at McDonalds. The only thing to rival Shake Shack lines is Compo on the 4th of July. In short, we Westporters are privileged to have Shake Shack; a 5 Guys simply keeps us from one more overpriced home goods store.

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPlayscape

I take exception to one point made above......

" (Never felt like Five Guys was trying to upsell when they asked about fries, btw.)"

Not in my experience. When I went to 5 Guys, and BTW it's been like almost two years since I've BEEN so I don't recall the precise phraseology, but they basically shout "NO FRIES" when, if I recall correctly, they give you your completed order.

I always "felt", and I get that that's an imprecise and individualistic impression, but always did feel that they were not thrilled if you did not order fries and/or a drink, which I often did not.

And I didn't love having them scream "NO FRIES" which they absolutely did used to say.

And this is a small thing maybe but in a way a big thing. I used to BEG lance at BSF to buy good pickles, even if he had to charge extra for them. BSF pickles suck, the 5G pickles suck, Danny Meyer God love him puts some damn good pickles on the burgers at The Shack. and no...The Shack isn't a Cherrystreet burger, but it works......the beef, the american cheese (the only good burger cheese imho) the excellent crappy bun, perfectly steamed or whatever, the pickles, a little dollop of Ketchup and I'm telling you, the thing WORKS in a way BSF does not and 5G never ever will. BTW I love Lance but he's basically a vegetarian and doesn't even really eat burgers except for veggie burgers.......not such a good thing for a burger maven eh? I like him a lot, I like his crew, and I admire his operation to a point but he's now swimming with the big fish.

BTW, speaking of big fish I used to be known as Shark_Attack on Chowhound until they threw me off for mentioning Le Farm one too many times, the corporate sleazeoids...And I presume that Jeff and Lou remember me and that I am among burger friends:)

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

As a New York Native, I am thrilled to have Shake Shack down the road. I agree in & out is fantastic, 2k miles away, but fantastic. Five Guys is a grease pit joke.

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjbb2007

Love Danny Meyer Restaurants- his hospitality business model is perfection. We got engaged at USQ cafe! But afer several tries at this location, Shake Shack is too crowded and has too many screaming little angels running around to make it worth waiting in line. Until then, I'll be waiting until it calms down- if it ever does!

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSueIseman

Does being an NYC native grant superior burger judgment? Can a line mean novelty rather than excellence? Are people allowed to have differing ideas without being put down? Variety makes capitalism work: snark, on the other hand, adds absolutely nothing but cowardice.

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTravels4Food

A follow up....

I am now a Shack regular and enjoy a single burger with pickles and onions every time. It's now definitely my "go-to" burger for anything but sit-down dining.

I have to say though I am not a huge fan of so-called "Shack Sauce", that condiment found atop a "Shack Burger" comprised largely if not completely of mayonnaisse. It is, in a word, boring.

I once suggested that BSF reverse-engineer some Big Mac sauce, tiny relish bits and all, and offer that to the kiddies who come in. I now put the same challenge out my D.M. Danny...Shack sauce is boring. Give us some more flavor. The burger can handle it. Try a "Big Dan" sauce. For that matter, BSF a "Lanceburger or a "Big Lance" might be just the ticket to propell you to the next level of burger greatness.

July 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

THE FALLACY OF COMPOSITION

or why it doesn't pay to go to Shake Shack during mealtimes....


Shack Shack, while no burger panacea for the purist, does offer the most compelling fast-food-type option, being the best in catagory, better than all the other "cheap" burger places. And due to the success of the place as well as of the Batali place, we are seeing the effect of starpower on the biting public.....they can't get enuff of these new places of distinguished lineage.

I am thinking Mario Batali could sell red plastic Crox in an appropriate sauce and the well-dressed of my area would flock to, fighting each other for precious parking for the Maserati's and top-of-the-line Beamers.

Anyway, Shack Shack is a raging success......But at who's expense? And what is this line anyway, streching around and down sometimes 50, 100 people long? Is it the line for free burgers? No. This is the hurdle that must be overcome to avail onesself of the Shackburger during busy times. And I'm here to tell you that it 'aint worth it.

Shack Shack is ok but it's no paragon of deliciousness......it's McDonalds, before they raced to the lowest common denominator in every catagory and in every conceivable way. Shake Shack is an ok burger. It will nourish you, it won't make you feel sick, but I am here to assert that waiting any more than....oh, let's give 'em....ten minutes maybe, is a total waste of time. The stuff just does not warrant the attention.

However, I have identified a couple of ok times to try going to Shake Shack, and although I fear that by sharing my discoveries I may make my own life harder, here's to 'ya.

11:15 am, any day of the week.

3:35 pm, any weekday.

About 20 minutes b4 closing.

Don't wear it out:)

September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Hilarious post, Chris. And darn-near spot on.

September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

Sing it, brother!

September 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertravels4food

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Well, 6 months have gone by and Shake Shack, while still wildy successful in comarison to the other FFC fast food burgers, things have slowed down considerably, and it is now possible to get a Shack Shack burger at many different times of the day.

The question is, should you? Allow me to suggest a few thoughts in no particular order...The food part of the menu is indeed so limited as to make McDonald's and Burger King's menu seem vast. I find the fact that there is no chicken dish to be a real shortcoming. I also can't stand "Shack Sauce" (off-brand mayonnaise?) and I utterly fail to appreciate the justification for charging 50 cents more for this sauce option. They don't charge for the lettuce, nor for the tomato, the lettuce nor the onion nor the pickle, but it's 50 cents more for a dab of bad mayo?

I find it shocking that there are many, many more desert options than food options. no chicken "tenders", but 8 or ten different deserts? And wine? Strange. I have never seen anyone order wine at Shake Shack, and I do understand the the liquor permit came with the location. I still miss Pho Mekong, by the way, and the pretty young Thai woman who worked there.

Oh and that's another thing. At Shake Shack, inexplicably, sometimes you get a nasty tasting one. I can think of no other way to say it. sometimes their burgers taste like shit, I'm not sure why. This is of course a benefit over 5 Guys, where their burgers always taste like shit, and who, I see, are now doing radio advertising.

I find it disturbing that, 6 months after opening, no "professional crew" of burger makers has ever settled in at Shake Shack. There would, in a perfect world be two mature guys working side by side 60 hours a week making all the burgers and dogs, and let a few of the kiddies get the deserts and play cashier. But sometimes I see cooks who seem VERY amateurish, who I see pressing spatulas down into burgers as the juice flies out the side, etc... Danny....Pay for a professional crew, and yield professioonal results. I know the Shake Shack budget can handle it. And why are ther literally 15 people working in there at once when what are needed are 7 intelligent, efficient people making twice as much per hour?

What else? Oh yes....Why are the Fries pre cooked and not the burgers, when actually, the waits for burgers are fairly long and burgers lend themselves more to pre-cooking than even fries do. Here's a rule of thumb...The cooks should keep an eye on the line....Everytime someone gets on line throw on a burger to begin cooking...for every three people who show up, put on an additional basket of fries and a dog.

Shake Shack should not be pre cooking fries and nothing else...There is no time advantage in doing so, and it bespeaks a certain laziness and lack of devotion to quality.

Chris

January 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

wow, if I needed another reason to disregard Chris's burger opinions, that was it.

March 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermike d

To Chris..........rich kids from Westport do not work. Neither do other neighboring kids from other wealthy towns. They work at hedge funds for a summer jobs. When your dads a CEO or equivelent thats how nepotism works.
In any event, the Shake Shack burgers suck. Birger King tastes better.

March 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

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